John Legend, Mariah Carey and Katy Perry among celebrities to honor civil rights icon John Lewis: 'A true American hero'

Congressman John Lewis died on July 17, 2020. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/Getty Images)
Congressman John Lewis died on July 17, 2020. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/Getty Images)

Celebrities are paying tribute to Congressman John Lewis, who died on Friday, for his enormous contributions to society. The 80-year-old civil rights icon, who revealed in December that he had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, was the youngest and last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists, a group that included Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Despite his diagnosis, Lewis quickly returned to work in Washington D.C., vowing to continue his mission.

“I have been in some kind of fight – for freedom, equality, basic human rights – for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” he said in a December press release. “So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross...I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God's grace I will be back on the front lines soon.”

On Saturday, singer John Legend tweeted, “Thank you John Lewis for being a warrior for justice. Thank you for loving us so much that you devoted and risked your life to bring us closer to freedom. As we mourn and remember his incredible life, let's rededicate ourselves to carrying on his legacy.”

Director Ava DuVernay tweeted a series of photos of herself with Lewis, praising his “care and kindness, your advice and understanding.” Just last month, DuVernay encouraged people to sign a petition to rename Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge after Lewis. Now a National Historic Landmark, the bridge was the site of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” beatings of Lewis and other civil rights marchers. Duvernay recreated the incident in her 2014 film Selma.

Mariah Carey tweeted, “Today we have lost a heroes' Hero. Thank you God for John Lewis’s life of service. Let us continue to try to walk his walk of truth. Rest in Power.”

Former President Barack Obama posted a photo of him and Lewis embracing. “Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way,” he wrote. “John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders—to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.”

Grey’s Anatomy Star Jessie Williams shared an Instagram photo of himself with Lewis which he tagged at the White House during Obama’s presidency. “Hold your head, in gratitude,” he wrote. “He lead. He listened. He loved us, beyond measure. Keep going.”

Activist Malala Yousafzai, who recently graduated from Oxford University, also recalled meeting the hero, tweeting, “John Lewis gave so much of his time and wisdom to young people like me — his work will continue for generations as we aspire every day to live up to his legacy.” Back in 2015, Lewis called Yousafzai “an inspiration to us all” in a tweet.

Mia Farrow posted a June photo of Lewis wearing a face mask and standing on a Black Lives Matter street mural in Washington DC.

Pharrell Williams also honored Lewis in a tweet that read, “Rest in Peace. Rest in Power...”

And Chelsea Handler suggested creating a statue in Lewis’s honor.

Katy Perry retweeted a photo of Senator Kamala Harris holding hands with Lewis. “Thank you for all the good you gave,” she wrote.

And Cyndi Lauper thanked Lewis for his work, saying that she was honored to have known him.

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