He calls the City of Angels home now, but when John Legend was a kid, the Gem City was the big city.
It is no wonder the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony-winning singer, song-writer actor and producer took the Oregon District shooting so personally.
The Springfield native told Bethany Ramsey and others at Puff Apothecary in Dayton’s Oregon District on Sunday, Aug. 11, how sad he was to be visiting the neighborhood to raise awareness about gun violence in wake of the Aug. 4 mass shootings there.
“You have no choice; you have to keep going,” Legend told Ramsey during the tour of the Oregon District with Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley that also included stops at Beck + Call, Brim and Heart Mercantile.
Ramsey, the owner of Puff and an Oregon District resident, had expressed how difficult the last few days have been.
Legend purchased clothing for his children with TV host Chrissy Teigen at Heart and Beck + Call and looked at hats at Brim before having dinner at Corner Kitchen and giving show at Blind Bob’s Bar, which is located near where a 24 year-old dressed in body armor used a semi-automatic pistol police say was modified to act like a rifle and killed nine people in the Oregon District one week ago.
Nearly 30 others were injured badly enough to require medical treatment.
Legend, who is best known for his songs “All of Me,” “Glory” and Ordinary People,” has appeared in the Dayton area with Whaley for political related events in the past.
Before the press conference with Whaley, Legend urged Dayton area residents to support and love each other and Oregon District’s businesses as they try to recover for the traumatizing shootings.
“Continue to support each other and be as loving and caring as we can with each other, and then I think we have to vote as if our lives depended on it because they really do. We need to vote for politicians that will support gun safety measures.”
Whaley, a Democrat, echoed many of Legend’s sentiments during a press conference held outside the Trolley Stop on Fifth Street near Wayne Avenue.
“If this sort of shooting can happen in Dayton,” she said, “we know it can happen anywhere.”
While inside Heart Mercantile, Legend spoke with Whaley, Dayton Police Maj. Wendy Stiver and the staff of Heart Mercantile.
“I just wanted to support Dayton and this area,” Legend told this news organization during his stop at Heart Mercantile. “I grew up in Springfield. We were all struck by this tragedy.”
The staff at Heart presented him with a Dayton Strong T-shirt, and he also picked up a few items for his two children. “This is a cool store,” Legend said.