John Legend took to the piano in the Shiloh Baptist Church Saturday afternoon for a stirring performance of Frank Sinatra's “The House I Live In” following a screening of the Sundance Award-winning documentary film of the same name.
Legend, a co-producer of film alongside Brad Pitt, Russell Simmons, and Danny Glover, received a standing ovation from the lively crowd, packed tightly into the pews. The film and performance were simulcast to hundreds of churches nationwide.
“The House I Live In” examines the destructive cost of the country’s war on drugs, which has incarcerated millions since 1971. Director Eugene Jarecki, who was criticized for bringing the film to Washington over Inauguration Weekend, considers the film “to be the unfinished work of the civil rights movement.”
Speakers at the panel included Jarecki, Danny Glover, Obama adviser Charles Ogletree and Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va.
The song has been covered by greats such as singer/actor Paul Robeson and gospel great Mahalia Jackson. Legend’s cover of it will be released this week as a music video set inside the prison system.