“Los Angeles is the home of so many immigrants, so many creative people, so many dreamers, and those of us who work in this business have the privilege of shaping how the rest of the world perceives this country we love,” the singer and La La Land actor said while presenting a clip from the film. “We are the voice, we are the face of America. Our America is big, it is free, and it is open to dreamers of all races, all countries, all religions. Our vision of America is directly antithetical to that of President Trump. I want to specifically tonight reject his vision and affirm that America has to be better than that.”
Legend remarked that both he and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, were conflicted about attending the awards ceremony during such a tumultuous moment. “We also wanted to put our money where our mouth is,” he continued. “We made a donation to the ACLU and other organizations who are committed to fighting for freedom in the land of the free.”
“There’s a lot of money and power in this room and I hope you all will use it for something good,” he added. “Let’s all continue to stand up together for what is right.”
Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter shot video of Legend’s speech, which you can watch below.
On Friday, Trump signed an executive order that barred immigrants from seven “majority-Muslim countries,” an action the Department of Homeland Security confirmed affected green card holders, as well. The order prompted swift response from activists who gathered at airports across the country while celebrities joined the outcry over social media.
By Saturday, New York District Judge Ann Donnelly issued an emergency halt to the immigration ban that affected a relatively small amount of people detained at airports, according to the Associated Press.
Asghar Farhadi, an Oscar-nominated filmmaker from Iran, was reported to be among those banned from entrance to the U.S. If this turns out to be true, he won’t be able to attend the Oscars in February.
The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts & Sciences released a statement in response, saying, “As supporters of filmmakers — and the human rights of all people — around the globe, we find it extremely troubling that Asghar Farhadi, the director of the Oscar-winning film from Iran A Separation, along with the cast and crew of this year’s Oscar-nominated film The Salesman, could be barred from entering the country because of their religion or country of origin.”