No Ordinary People: John Legend to Host the 2020 Global Citizen Prize Awards Special

John Legend attends The 2019 MAKERS Conference on February 7, 2019, in Dana Point, Calif.
John Legend attends The 2019 MAKERS Conference on February 7, 2019, in Dana Point, Calif.
Photo: Rachel Murray for MAKERS (Getty Images)

The international advocacy organization Global Citizen has recently announced its host for the 2020 Global Citizen Prize Awards and it’s none other than one of our favorite philanthropic, phenomenal singers, John Legend.


In a press release sent to The Root, the Global Citizen Prize, which celebrates and honors leaders who are making extraordinary efforts to lift up the world’s most vulnerable and make the world a better place, is set to air on Saturday, December 19 on NBC. “I’m so excited to be returning as host of the Global Citizen Prize for the second year,” John Legend shared. “2020 has challenged all of us in many ways, and I’m proud to be celebrating leaders who are supporting vulnerable communities, working to end extreme poverty, and inspiring others to take action for change.”

This year’s awards include: Global Citizen of the Year, Global Citizen Prize for World Leader, Global Citizen Prize for Business Leader, Global Citizen Artist of the Year, Cisco Youth Leadership Award, and the Global Citizen Country Hero Award. Along with that, Global Citizen is also adding three additional awards: Global Citizen Prize for Philanthropy, Global Citizen Prize for Culture & Education, and Global Citizen Prize for Activism. The first of which will honor a philanthropist, or philanthropic group, who has shown extraordinary leadership, stepping forward to accelerate their giving in support of the world’s biggest challenges and in pursuit of achieving the United Nations Global Goals. The second will recognize an individual or organization who has excelled in creating positive change through an artistic or educational endeavor. And the last will highlight an individual or organization whose activism has driven significant and exemplary impact for society at a local or global level.

The digital pre-show, hosted by Access Hollywood’s Scott Evans, will stream on Facebook and Twitter at 7:30 p.m.ET. The show will also be available to watch via streaming on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter immediately following its air on NBC. More info on specific awardees, hosts, and musical performances are forthcoming but as of now, the night is already shaping up to be quite...legendary. (Y’all know I had to put that in here somehow.)



Back in the ‘90s, while channel-flipping I came across an MTV or VH1 award show where I think Peter Gabriel was giving an award to very short, average looking Latina. I stopped to watch as he gave her the most glowing, uplifting, congratulatory intro about her bravery then showed the video for which she won. It was from inside the window of a poor-looking hut showing a foreign dirt road of a market area with a bunch of Latinx small kids ages 1 1/2 to maybe 10 milling around when a local police jeep pulls up, a cop exits with his gun out and the kids start scrambling away (like 4yos were grabbing 1yos and trying to run with them on their hips). The most shocking REAL thing I’ve ever seen was the police man, matter-of-factly and methodically SHOOTING toddlers and small children at point-blank range!

Because the merchants complained that these huge numbers of street children frequently stole food from them, the government’s answer was to kill them and leave their bodies in the street.

I will never forget the woman saying, through an interpreter, that she was uneducated and poor and very afraid of repercussions. But she knew that what was happening was wrong and felt it her human duty to do what she could to stop it. Her video helped prove what Amnesty International had suspected but her government had long denied. THAT video effected CHANGE and saved children’s lives!!

She was clearly overwhelmed with the glamor of the venue, etc. and so humble and earnest but so courageous in the moment that I felt ashamed for having more but not DOing more in this world. I joined Amnesty International that day!

I’m always so happy to hear about any awards going to ordinary citizens who do extraordinary things. Their example could be the butterfly wings flapping that make a tsunami around the world!