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John Legend and Alicia Keys premiere new music in the latest Verzuz music battle

The latest Verzuz battle between R&B singers John Legend and Alicia Keys came at a pivotal time.

The world is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic and people are taking to the streets to protest police brutality against Black people. It is also Juneteenth, the day to commemorate the official end of slavery in America.

All that made Friday’s battle on Instagram more of a call for unity in these turbulent times, with each artist playing a string of hits from “Diary” to “Ordinary People.” They also played new music with Legend premiering “Never Break” and Keys premiering “Perfect Way to Die.”

“I think we need a lot of hope right now,” Keys said as she played “Empire State of Mind,” a song she said provides hope.

Legend and Keys opened the show playing their duet “Redemption” and ended with Legend playing “Glory.

“We’re happy to celebrate freedom and the fight for more freedom,” Legend said. “I’ve been so inspired watching people march in this street playing this song … It means so much that people play this song fighting to be more free.”

Legend dancing to his own music also provided laughs for viewers, who were quick to poke fun at the singer.

“John Legend two steps like me after the second glass of Henny,” podcast host Jeff J. tweeted.

“John Legend dance like he got a 940 credit score,” tweeted singer Jessie Woo.

Legend’s dancing was also compared with Ellen DeGeneres’ moves.

Keys’ and Legend’s battle was part of an ongoing series by producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland as a way to entertain fans during quarantine.

Previous battles have featured rappers Nelly and Ludacris, singers Erykah Badu and Jill Scott as well as reggae singers Beenie Man and Bounty Killer.



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