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John Legend's Virginia run-in with two "old racists"






John Legend at the Earth Day Climate Rally in D.C. on Sunday, before things when south for him Fredericksburg. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

A few hours after singing at Sunday's Earth Day Climate Rally on the Mall, John Legend sent a message via Twitter to his fans: "Visiting family in VA. Ran into two old guys who must've been celebrating confederate history month. Told us to get our asses out of here."

"VAisForLovers," he added ironically. It was another embarrassment for the state, still smarting over Gov. Bob McDonnell's proclamation celebrating the history of the Confederacy that failed to mention slavery.

Legend tweeted a few more details later that night: "The old racists were in a residential area in Fredericksburg. We were lost and they thought we were driving suspiciously so they pull up." Legend asked for directions, he wrote, because he was visiting a new housing development that didn't show up on GPS or Google Maps; he gave the address he was trying to find; the two men insulted Legend and his friends.

Fans tweeted their response: "I would have shown you some hospitality. would love to know who dissed you" and "Where is Fredericksburg so we stay away?" And the tourism folks there weren't thrilled to hear about it. "That certainly isn't our approach and not very beneficial to our brand," Karen Hedelt told us. "We don't want anyone to have a bad experience."

But maybe a tweet -- even from a celebrity who reaches millions with a few taps on a keyboard -- is just a tweet. "I really don't consider this a big deal," said his rep Cindi Berger. "He Twittered about it. Nothing terrible happened. He'll Twitter about something else."

Indeed, by the end of the day, Legend seemed to have moved on, at least on Twitter: "Anyway, the DC concert was hot today. Great energy and great music. Peace and love to everybody."

By The Reliable Source  |  April 27, 2010; 1:04 AM ET
 
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Comments

That's the GOP base he met there.

This is why other people call it Fredneck.

Posted by: Nymous | April 27, 2010 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Folks...could we not kid ourselves and downplay this. The Fredericksburg area and its neighboring Spotsylvania county are right in the middle of several confederate battlefields and the reality is that this area, although just 40 minutes from DC, still swelters with prejudice and racism. After purchasing a house there in the mid 1990's I tried to walk in an all white church house and was immediately looked at strangely and asked to leave. Can you believe it...a house of God !!! Sorry, everyone there is in a time wharp. And they say Virginia is for lovers. They are still fighting the Civil war..,in their own minds.

Posted by: mwgaithersburg | April 27, 2010 1:08 AM | Report abuse

The saddest thing about this is, as Legend pointed out, the state endorses this behavior. I wish I could say it's isolated to Fredericksburg, but I've even seen Confederate flags at homes in Vienna even.

Posted by: sarahabc | April 27, 2010 5:39 AM | Report abuse

"The saddest thing about this is, as Legend pointed out, the state endorses this behavior. I wish I could say it's isolated to Fredericksburg, but I've even seen Confederate flags at homes in Vienna even.
Posted by: sarahabc | April 27, 2010 5:39 AM | Report abuse"

show us where the state endorses this behaviour...
sarah, you are as much racist as anyone else...

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 27, 2010 5:54 AM | Report abuse

maybe people should boycott arizona and virginia. an economic hit might wake these states up

Posted by: taeyyenom | April 27, 2010 7:40 AM | Report abuse

"show us where the state endorses this behaviour...
sarah, you are as much racist as anyone else..."

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 27, 2010 5:54 AM

With the proclamation of Confederate History Month, the governor not only endorsed, but encourages this type of behavior. VA = North Mississippi.

Posted by: tradervic1313 | April 27, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

"show us where the state endorses this behaviour...
sarah, you are as much racist as anyone else..."

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 27, 2010 5:54 AM

With the proclamation of Confederate History Month, the governor not only endorsed, but encourages this type of behavior. VA = North Mississippi.

Posted by: tradervic1313 | April 27, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

VERY WELL SAID TRADER. GUESS DWIGHT IS INSULTED ABOUT THE FACT THAT HIS ANCESTORS WERE PART OF SUCH AN IGNORANT PAST. AND THEY SAY RACISM NO LONGER EXIST.

Posted by: wisedecision08 | April 27, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

That really stinks. Racist morons are all over this country but it's so embarrassing when they rear their ugly heads in or around DC in whatever form. I was backstage at the Earth Day concert and John Legend was a perfect gentleman, a real pro. Nobody deserves racist threats and it's a damn shame that he experienced it near my hometown.

As long as there is tacit or outright approval by the state's elected leaders of backwardsass behavior and ideas, Virginia will be deserving of derision and isolation. I looked at the state for my upcoming honeymoon. I vacationed in Bath County last year and had the time of my life but the honeymoon will be in West Virginia. I just can't support a state that seems stuck in the past and might even be moving backwards.


Posted by: blablabla | April 27, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

You are stupid to think just because the governor says its Confederate History month, people decide to be racist. I support Confederate History and remembering the sacrifice of my ancestors who fought in the war of northern aggression. That said I'm no racist. John Legend is awesome. I would have taken him directly to where he was going. The two old backwards farts that told him to get out, they are just plain stupid and ignorant.

Posted by: al11236 | April 27, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

While I have no doubts that this happened and probably does more often than reported, my family has a spot at Indian Acres in Thornburg (a few miles down the road) and have never experienced behaviour like this.

Too bad some folks are still thinking with the poisoned brain of their forebearers and are too afraid to think for themselves.

Posted by: kahlua87 | April 27, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

This is a story? If this happened in NY would you publish this? Just another day at the Wash Post. Your newspaper looks more like the Huffington Post every day. Why don't you come out of the liberal closet. This is a pathetic.

Posted by: awatts1 | April 27, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

While I have no doubts that this happened and probably does more often than reported, my family has a spot at Indian Acres in Thornburg (a few miles down the road) and have never experienced behaviour like this.

Too bad some folks are still thinking with the poisoned brain of their forebearers and are too afraid to think for themselves.

Posted by: kahlua87 | April 27, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"The war of Northern Aggression" also known as "God's war to free his children from human bondage"

Posted by: bob29 | April 27, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

al11236, I have a news flash for you. If you think the Civil War was the War for Northern Aggression, you are in fact a racist. Slavery was bad. The South wanted slavery to be expanded. The North did not. If you find yourself on the side of the South and don't think you are a racist, then you are just in denial.

Posted by: bperk420 | April 27, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

To be proud of being on the dark side of history speaks volume to why there is still Racism in this country. Basically when you support the Conferderacy, it's movement, it's flag and what it stands for, You are proud that you are a racist. Their side of history was Racism - to keep human beings in bondage by any means necessary and to refuse them rights to the point they were willing to kill for it and ceede from the union. How can you be proud of that? That's sick.

I'm not surprised that John went thru that, it's happening all the time, in all parts of America and will continue until people calld darkness and evil what it is, only then can we really fix the problem and heal our land.

Posted by: love2much SE | April 27, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Ah, Fredneck! Virginia is for Haters. And for all you ancestor worshippers, my great-grandfather served in the Confederate army, lost a leg at Gettysburg, and the South was dead wrong. John Legend has more going on in his little finger than a whole region of bigots.

Posted by: hlchappell | April 27, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Gov. McDonnell encouraged and emboldened racists like these with his Confederate History Month announcement. That was its purpose. There was no logical or historical reason to omit all mention of slavery other than to send a message to racists that the GOP hears them and agrees with them.

It's time for the racists to hear another message. They need to know that racist behavior isn't welcome anywhere in Virgina. And if they can't control their behavior, then they aren't welcome either.

Posted by: bigbrother1 | April 27, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

It is deplorable that two idiots would say such a thing to John Legend or anyone else for that matter, but for the Post to link this to Confederate History Month and then try to insinuate the entire state has racism issues is a ridiculous. Unfortunately, there are racists, of every color, in every state, and if Virginia is such a backwards state, then how did it go for Obama in 2008? It would be refreshing if the Post tried to be objective and fair, just once, even in its gossip column. Come to think of it, why does such a Lofty paper, as the Post likes to see itself as, waste space on gossip!

Posted by: fairfaxgoper | April 27, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Where's Mr. Legend's proof? Until it's presented, he's just playing the race game... We have enough of that already.

Tommy Aaron
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Posted by: poptn | April 27, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

You want to see racism, how about a white guy stopping in SE DC for directions.

Posted by: THEOC1 | April 27, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

C,mon theoc1 that's not racism. That would be boys being boys (or men being men). It's only racism when whites perpetrate it upon those not their own color...according to those in the know.

Posted by: whataboutfreedom | April 27, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

DOJ crime stats do not help end these types of incidents and racism, because people have a hard time feeling warm and fuzzy towards a race of people that over-represent their population numbers with criminal offending. Look at the number of offenses right here in Washington DC based on number of crimes per 100,000 persons: Violent crime - 1371, Murder - 36, and Robbery - 578. Compared to Violent crime in the entire state of New York = 687 per 100,000 persons. Guess which race of people is committing the majority of these offenses? The black culture in America is so screwed up, it becomes extremely hard for many people to welcome them in to a community that is NOT suffering from the "black" culture disease that places like Washington DC suffers from!

Posted by: Hotelguest0 | April 27, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"You want to see racism, how about a white guy stopping in SE DC for directions.

Posted by: THEOC1 | April 27, 2010 11:09 AM |"


*******************************************

And how often does that happen? Huh? Racism against people of color has been occurring for centuries ... and if you believe it's over, you're even more foolish than you appear to be in your comment -- which was so incredibly lame.

Posted by: gitouttahere | April 27, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I am by no means a racist, but you have to be ignorant to think they don't exist. Why the story? Everyone is entitled to his/her own spoken opinion, whether its good or bad. And that's just what the Virginian and Mr. Legend are both doing. I think its sad and pitiful when people feel the need to cry about someone being a racist. Welcome to Earth.

Posted by: postman850 | April 27, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to burst your bubble: Nymous

It was the southern Democrats that wanted to keep slavery.
The republicans Like (Abe) were against it. And still are against it.
Slavery now is in the economic sense. The more people you keep unemployed on welfare, the more slaves you have to the democratic machine.

The truth is Communism doesn’t work.
It never has.
It never will.

The truth will set you free!

Posted by: rexreddy | April 27, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous that the Post prints this article - casting aspersions on the Commonwealth of Virginia for the acts of one or two people - that's like accusing all African-Americans of being criminals just because one or two commit a crime. This could have happened in any state

Posted by: VirginiaResident2007 | April 27, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Hotelguest: there is no such thing as Black culture disease. Stats do not tell the whole story. Move away the jobs, the services and have government red-lining
as housing policy and see how well any group fares.

Back to the topic, surely it can not be true;we live in post-racial America. As Rodney King said 'can't we all just get along?'

Posted by: smartfunnygal | April 27, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous that the Post prints this article - casting aspersions on the Commonwealth of Virginia for the acts of one or two people - that's like accusing all African-Americans of being criminals just because one or two commit a crime. This could have happened in any state

Posted by: VirginiaResident2007 | April 27, 2010 1:01 PM

-----------

No, it's not like that. If a 20 year old black man breaks my car window and steals my GPS, I'm pretty sure it's not because he hates me.

But these two proud Virginians rolling up on a car with a black man in it--they are telling him to move along, that he's in the wrong place, that he is not supposed to be there. They are acting as the enforcers of a social order they deem right and just.

It's not a bad thing to see, from time to time, these glimpses that prove the laggardly evolution of human conscience. Otherwise, we might be fooled into thinking things are better than they really are.

Posted by: gardyloo | April 27, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Why is it an embarrassment for the state? Let the state without any crazy old racists cast the first stone.

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | April 27, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Blacks are some of the biggest racists in America. I have seen first hand, blacks in the ghetto of DC say racist things about whites, koreans, and hispanics. As a matter of fact, they call korean people Chinese MFer's and Hispanics from El Salvador are Spanish MFer's or Mexican MFer's. They are racist and do not even know where the people are really from that they are cursing at!

Posted by: Hotelguest0 | April 27, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

VirginiaResident2007 -- alot more than two or a couple blacks commit criminal offenses, as a matter of FACT they grossly over-represent their population numbers with the number of crimes they commit over-all! Blacks are like 7 times more likely to commit a violent criminal act than whites per a DOJ Bureau of Statistics report.
Smartfunnygirl: Keep kidding yourself! Read my post above. It is related to the destructive culture that blacks keep themselves locked in to that continues to develop young people that commit crimes, depend on welfare, and refuse to get an education. Noone took away jobs. Blacks refuse to stay in school, get an education, and search for jobs. They have a sense of entitlement in their community and culture. They feel that they are owed. Programs like affirmative action, Federal education grants for minorities, minority scholarships, welfare programs, special job training for minorities, and various other programs set up to help blacks have tried to level the playing field. In most of these cases, blacks fail to take advantage of them. Many prefer to make money selling drugs, playing sports or dreaming of becoming a rap star! Not only did noone take jobs away from the blacks, but they are often hired for jobs they are underqualified to work, simply because they are black!!

Posted by: Hotelguest0 | April 27, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Good old Virginia, land of ignornant rednecks that can't believe they lost the war. The world has moved on without them and they don't like it, so they try to get back by using racism.

Posted by: missingwisc | April 27, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

As a white woman currently living in Spotsylvania, I am totally embarrassed by this. I have lived in the Fred-necks-burg area for most of my life, and the culture there pre-dates the Civil War as opposed to the 21st Century. Racism is alive and well there and it's a damn shame. People in the 21st Century should not be acting like this, particularly in church of all places. I'm totally embarrassed to tell people I live there. The whole thing is pathetic. My sincerest apologies to John Legend.

Posted by: carlyj1958 | April 27, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse


There isn't enough information in the story to make a responsible decision as to whether the "two old guys" were racist or not. All we really have to go on are the words of the person who was "insulted". This person goes on to categorize the two old guys as racists celebrating confederate history month. Now, who is the racist again?

Does this mean that people who celebrate black history month are racists also?

Put in a different context; a few hours after a concert, a group of men are driving slowly around a residential neighborhood. They ask for directions and when they are not treated as graciously as they feel they deserve (hey, I'm a celebrity!), the people who live there morph into racists.

Classic.

Posted by: DTWash | April 27, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I'm having a hard time believing this happened...are we suppose to take his word? There's no audio or video recording of the "incident" and it's second nature to racist, regressive, liberals to make up such stories! If this happened to a conservative, would there be the same outpouring of support there is for this person?

Posted by: supernavyman007 | April 27, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes people, racists are everywhere and of every shape, size and color. I used to have a black girlfriend and whenever we went anywhere in public we turned a few heads, and once again, of all shapes, sizes and colors. Hilarious. Racism will never go away, it's part of our human nature.

Posted by: ioweioweoff2workigo | April 30, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

oh, and by the way, we lived together also. Guess where? Fred-necks-burg. Yeehaw mffers

Posted by: ioweioweoff2workigo | April 30, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

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