As the 2019 Annual Meeting approaches, you probably know about all the exciting entertainment we have lined up for you. You’ll see local favorites like MojoFlo, BalletMet, The Ohio State University Dance Team and the beloved Nina West, Columbus’ nationally recognized drag queen and philanthropist who rose to stardom on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 11. Every ASAE entertainer was carefully chosen to give you an authentic taste of Columbus’ talent and diversity.

What you may not know, however, is that our headlining performers were selected for the same reasons. John Legend and Brad Paisley are not only Grammy Award-winning musicians, but their Ohio ties and social activism make them the perfect fit for ASAE in Columbus. Here’s why…

John Legend is from Ohio

That’s right, the singer-songwriter is an Ohio native and a dedicated Buckeye fan. Legend was born in the small, blue-collar town of Springfield, Ohio in 1978. His hometown is just a short, 50-minute drive west of Columbus. Legend took a fierce interest in music at a young age, singing in the community church choir and learning to play piano at age seven. Because his mother was unable to afford nursery school or a pre-K education, Legend was homeschooled throughout his elementary years. He attended Springfield North High School at age 12, where he graduated salutatorian in four years and received countless Ivy League scholarships. Although he chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania, Legend has always remained an OSU Buckeye at heart.

Check out this adorable video of John and his daughter Luna celebrating after Ohio State defeated Michigan in 2017.

Brad Paisley is a Nationwide Insurance Guru

Did you know Columbus has been home to Nationwide Insurance since its founding in 1955? Today, its corporate headquarters comprise five downtown buildings and employs over 14,000 Columbus residents. From Nationwide Arena, to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the company has invested countless dollars into the growth and development of our city, and no one knows this better than Brad Paisley. You may have seen him on TV singing the Nationwide jingle or bickering with his not-so-trusty coach, Peyton Manning. Paisley has been working with Nationwide since 2016 and quickly became one of the company’s favorite spokespeople. In 2018, Paisley teamed up with Manning to produce a new series of ads that are guaranteed to leave you laughing.

Check out this video of Brad and Peyton promoting the 2019 ASAE Annual Meeting!

On Brand and In Demand

There’s no doubt John Legend and Brad Paisley are two celebrities in high demand. The musicians have collected 47 nominations and 13 Grammy Awards between the two of them. However, it wasn’t just the fame and success that attracted us to Legend and Paisley. Through their activism and philanthropy, these artists truly embrace the progressive, smart and open voice of our community.

Legend now gives back to the Springfield City School District and other school districts across the country through The Show Me Campaign. Founded in 2007, Legend’s organization works to give every child access to a quality education and addresses the negative factors that affect poor, minority and disadvantaged youth. This is just one of the ways Legend works to advocate for social change and equality. His current campaign #CantJustPreach encourages people to stand up and get involved to make a difference in their communities. He has partnered with nonprofit VolunteerMatch to help people find volunteer opportunities near them.

Paisley is also involved in some pretty awesome philanthropy initiatives, including The Store. This not-for-profit retail grocery store allows people to shop for their basic needs during times of crisis. The Store was opened by Paisley and his wife Kimberly in 2018 and provides everything from fresh foods and nonperishable items, to toys for children during the holidays, for free while customers work to regain self-sufficiency.