Selma may have gotten shut out at the 87th Academy Awards for major nominations, but the film scored a huge win at the night’s telecast. John Legend and Common won the Oscar for Best Original Song. The duo took home the coveted award right after they performed the song which brought tears to some Hollywood stars such as David Oyelowo who portrayed the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr in the film and Chris Pine. Taking the stage after receiving a standing ovation, Common told the crowd and viewers at watching the ceremony:
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.
Once the Chicago rapper/actor finished his speech, Legend took to the microphone and stated:
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.
Watch Legend and Common’s remarkable performance below.