There was a lot of controversy about Martin Luther King movie Selma at this year's Oscars, mainly the fact that it was left out of most award categories.
Thankfully, the film was given a voice in a signifcant way, thanks to a rousing performance of the original song 'Glory' by John Legend and Common on the night. It was an incredible 4 minutes of TV, which earned some huge reactions from the crowd.
As much as I think 'Everything is Awesome' from The Lego Movie is a fun song, this is a much more important one - especially for a year where no black or minority performer even got a nomination in any of the acting categories. When they got the chance to pick up the award, the singer/songwriters took a moment to highlight the real plight of Black people in America in one of the most moving moments of the evening.
And here's the important transcript in case the video gets taken down.
Common:First off, I’d like to thank God that lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once 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 South side of Chicago, dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope. Welded with compassion. And elevated by love for all human beings.
John Legend: Thank you. Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the voting rights, the act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you that we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on.
Selma is still in cinemas in Ireland now. Check it out.