John Legend and Common‘s “Glory,” from the film Selma, won the Academy Award for Best Original Song last night. Just as Common did when the duo won the Golden Globe for “Glory,” Legend used the win to bring awareness to social injustices regarding African Americans in this country. “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850,” Legend said during his acceptance speech.
At the Golden Globes, Common’s speech addressed the shooting death of Mike Brown, the officers who were murdered after the death of Eric Garner, and the black women who were denied their right to vote during the Civil Rights Movement. “The first day I stepped on the set of Selma I began to feel like this was bigger than a movie. As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights Movement I realized I am the hopeful black woman who was denied the right to vote. I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid, who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. Selma has awakened my humanity.”
The film Selma, which was directed Ava DuVernay, is a historical adaption of the protests that occurred during an effort to walk the highway from Selma to the Alabama state capital in Montgomery. Legend said he and Common carefully crafted “Glory,” in order to properly reflect the weight of the Civil Rights Movement. The singer also said the song captures the current mood of the nation. “This movie really tells a story of such a powerful movement, a movement that’s still relevant today, that still inspires us today,” Legend said. He continued, “Everything is not perfect right now, we still have a long way to go and I think Common’s lyrics really capture that perfectly because he talks about what happened fifty years ago but also what’s happening in America right now.”
It seems John Legend and Common’s goal of putting social injustices in the forefront has been successful. The duo has performed “Glory” in front of audiences that include millions of people, which include the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Grammy Awards. The protests that were planned because of the lack of diversity among the Oscar nominees, was cancelled at the request of director Ava DuVernay. The National Action Network released the statement a day before the protests, stating that they were honoring DuVernay’s request.
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