Stacey Abrams got some serious star power Tuesday as award-winning entertainer John Legend visited a string of college campuses across Atlanta to support her campaign for governor.
“The polls have this race very close, which means every vote is important,” Legend told a crowd of cheering students at Georgia Tech. “We need you to help us find these votes and get them engaged.”
Legend, whose recent Emmy win helped him make history with an EGOT, wasn't just revving up crowds for the Democrat's campaign. He was also set to headline a fundraiser concert for Abrams on Tuesday night ahead of the November race against Brian Kemp.
He's one of a slate of celebrities who has backed Abrams. She appeared on Saturday night with the rapper Yung Joc and has mingled with A-listers in New York and Los Angeles.
That’s led to sustained attacks from Kemp, who on Tuesday mocked Abrams for cavorting with superstars while he’s in the middle of a bus tour with dozens of stops in rural Georgia.
“That doesn’t surprise me. I thought she was going to be in San Francisco for a fundraiser today. But I’m worried about what we’re doing in Georgia and on our Georgia bus tour,” said Kemp, after a stop in Cartersville. “And that’s what we’re going to keep doing: putting Georgians first.”
Legend’s Georgia Tech stop was the first of four that also included visits to Emory University, Georgia State University and the Atlanta University Center.
He recently became the first African-American man to snag an EGOT, which stands for the big four awards in the entertainment industry: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. And he was welcomed at Tech like a conquering hero, taking a selfie with adoring fans.
Although Abrams didn't accompany him to the campus stops, Legend drew loud cheers when he mentioned her support for expanding Medicaid and her criminal justice initiatives.
In an interview, he said he met Abrams during her trips to New York and California and they became fast friends. He said he hoped his celebrity status helps “attract more people to the message” she’s trumpeted across the state.
“I really believe she’s an awesome woman, an awesome leader, and an awesome politician who can do great things for Georgia,” he said. “So I wanted to take a day to motivate young people to vote and get involved and learn more about the importance of who she is.”
He didn’t have any trouble drawing a crowd. Dozens of students crammed into the student center at Tech, and members of the Abrams campaign, the Democratic Party of Georgia and the campus chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists peppered the crowd with volunteer sign-ups.
Legend ended his eight-minute speech with one more plea: “Who here is excited to vote Stacey Abrams the governor of Georgia?”
The room answered with an eruption of cheers and applause.