After taking the best original song Oscar for their Selma song “Glory” at the 2015 Oscars, John Legend and Common took the opportunity to protest numerous problems in society that remain far from resolved 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma to Montgomery.
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Common said the bridge Dr. King and his protestors marched across is no longer just a symbol for Civil Rights — it’s a symbol for discrimination based on “race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. This is for the kid from the South Side of Chicago to those in France standing up for freedom of expression to those in Hong Kong protesting for democracy.”
“Nina Simone said it’s an artist duty to reflect the times we’re in,” Legend said. “Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than there were in slavery in 1850.”
As incredible as their performance at the Oscars was, their speech was even more moving — and easily the most relevant moment of the evening.