The singer and his wife Chrissy Teigen pair had just arrived at JFK Airport on Thursday (19Jan17) when a foul snapper asked them questions about their roots.

Teigen took to Twitter shortly after the unpleasant encounter and detailed it for her followers, writing: "Paparazzi at JFK just asked me 'if we evolved from monkeys, why is John Legend still around?'"

She added, "and people wonder why celebs lose it in pics... Also, john is right next to me. The balls! I was very kind. Answered cooking questions, then he came with that. F**king disgusting."

The model's followers reached out to support the couple and slam the crude snapper, suggesting Chrissy should have lashed out.

"Nah. They live for that photo and lawsuit," she responded.

John is now speaking out about the incident, explaining he thinks it's a "shame" minorities still have to deal with hateful words.

"We were right next to each other and we looked at each other like, 'Did he really just say that'," he told Variety. "And he really said it. He basically called me a monkey. Black folks have had to deal with being called monkeys for a long time and dehumanisation has always been a method of racism and subjugation of black people. That's just part of American history and it's part of the present, apparently.

"We saw it with the former president, Obama, whenever people wanted to discount him or discount his wife, they compared them to apes. And we've seen that frequently... I'm not hurt by someone saying that to me because I'm smarter, I'm stronger. I look down on that person that would say something like that, but it's a shame that still exists."