Common and John Legend captured Oscar gold on Sunday with their win for Best Original Song for “Glory,” the title track to the movie “Selma.”
During their acceptance speech, both Legend and Common spoke of the fight against social injustice in their respective remarks after grabbing hold of their Academy Award.
Common told the audience he and Legend recently performed “Glory” on the Edmund Pettus Bridge where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Civil Rights activists marched.
“50 years ago this bridge was a landmark of a divided nation, but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the Southside of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to the people of Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings.”
Legend quoted Nina Simone at the start of his acceptance speech saying, “It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live.”
He continued, “We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say: Selma is now.”
“We know that the voting rights act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today … We know that right now, 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.”
On Monday, Roland Martin and the “NewsOne Now” Straight Talk panel discussed Common and Legend’s remarks and how important it was for these young Black men to speak up on issues that are currently plaguing our community.
Attorney, blogger and creator of the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, April Reign told Martin, “I really appreciate the fact that John Legend and Common took the opportunity to speak out about problems that we see in American society as a whole.”
She added, They “seized upon the platform and it was necessary that they do so, because we don’t have a lot of activists out there who are able to use the moment the way that they did for the benefit of all.”
Watch Martin, April Reign, Hughey Newsome, Stefanie Brown James and Monique Pressley discuss Common and Legend’s inspiring remarks at this year’s Oscar Awards in the video clip above.
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