John Legend has a message for the real estate industry. On June 27, the singer replied to a tweet posted by celebrity news website TMZ that explained that the Houston Association of Realtors will no longer use the term “master” to refer to bedrooms and bathrooms in homes because of the word’s connotations to slavery.
“Real problem: realtors don’t show black people all the properties they qualify for,” wrote the EGOT winner. “Fake problem: calling the master bedroom the master bedroom. Fix the real problem, realtors.” Legend expanded on this in three additional tweets, writing that although not all real estate professionals engage in this practice, “it's widespread and well-documented enough to be an actual issue.” He called upon brokers to “show some leadership by recognizing that it’s real and encouraging your colleagues to do better.”
Legend’s posts come at a time when, after weeks of cross-country protests against police brutality led by the Black Lives Matter movement, many industries are grappling with how to do better when it comes to diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. For example, Quaker Oats recently announced that its Aunt Jemima brand of pancake mix and syrup will be getting a new name and logo because “Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.” The country music groups formerly known as Lady Antebellum and the Dixie Chicks also announced name changes recently, and will now be called Lady A and the Chicks, respectively, dropping words the evoke the pre–Civil War South. The Houston Association of Realtors’ decision to replace the term “master” with “primary,” as TMZ reports, is in the same vein, but Legend’s tweets are a reminder that there is more to systemic racism than just semantics.
Despite the seriousness of the issue, Legend, who has long been vocal about issues of race, concluded his message with a cheeky suggestion, writing, “As for terminology, all MTV Cribs viewers know that ‘this is where the magic happens’ is the only acceptable name for where the homeowner sleeps.”
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest