Los Angeles: Oscar-winning musician John Legend has said that people of colour are targeted even today and it is a long way before they achieve "freedom".
Legend urged his fellow artists to stand up and use their voices to fight for racial equality in America, an issue which is being debated in Hollywood following the lack of inclusion at this year's Oscars nomination.
The musician was speaking at the NAACP Image Awards on Friday night. Accepting the annual President's Award, Legend said,"We know that we stand on the shoulders of giants who risked their lives to bring us closer to true freedom. And of course, we are still fighting for freedom.
"Today, communities of colour are still being crushed by a criminal justice system that over-polices us, over-arrests us, over-incarcerates us, and disproportionately takes the lives of our young people because of the simple fact that our skin conjures the image of threat and violence". Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and Will Smith applauded Legend from the audience.
"I am hopeful that our generation will demand and achieve radical change in our lifetime. And as artists, all these wonderful artists in this room, we have always played a role in these movements. Our predecessors marched, they wrote songs, they met with political leaders, they provided financial support."
Legend said people might be called out for speaking about racial inequality but that should not deter them from voicing their opinion.
"Now, some will call you divisive for speaking out for a disenfranchised people. Some will call you a radical for calling for justice for all.
"Some will take offense when we have to assert that our lives should indeed matter, just as much as anyone else's. Some will call you the real racist for daring to call out racial inequality. But they know better. And we certainly know better."