The soaring ballad “Stand Up for Something” from the Open Road drama Marshall serendipitously came together at 35,000 feet. Songwriter Diane Warren had channeled ’60s soul anthems to pen the track for Andra Day (who also appears in the film), but craved another element to make it modern. “I told Andra’s manager that Common would be the dream,” she recalls. “Less than a week later, I was on a plane to Sundance, and he was sitting right behind me!”
Warren and Common wrote their lyrics before and after Trump was elected, respectively. “Who knew how timely it would be, because every day all our rights are under attack,” says Warren of the song: “I hope it makes everybody stand up and not take any of this shit. Look what he just did with the elephants, trying to take away that trophy ban. People stood up, he got so much pushback and a couple days later he [switched back.] He does every other horrible thing, but as long as we stand up, no one can fuck with us.”
Common also hopes the anthem not only pays tribute to the film’s titular lawyer, portrayed by Chadwick Boseman, but also encourages listeners to take a stance in their own life. “Wherever you are — if you’re a teacher or a postal worker or even if you don’t have a job, standing up for justice and equality is possible within your own place and time, for yourself and for others,” he explains.
“And it doesn’t have to be the community that you come from. I can’t only just stand up for black people; I’m not a woman but I care about women’s rights and all this sexual harassment in Hollywood. It’s tough times, and we’re dealing with a lot. But we can overcome these things — it just takes us really looking out for each other to do it.”
This article originally appeared on THR.com.