John Legend and Common gave rousing speeches as they accepted the award for Best Original Song at last night’s Oscars. During their acceptance speeches, the artists evoked political and social commentary.
“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 those in Hong Kong, protesting for democracy,” he said. “This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated with love for all human beings.”
John Legend got more explicitly political in his speech. “We say that Selma is now, because the struggle for justice is right now,” he said. “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, 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 then were under slavery in 1850.”
The musicians also performed their song “Glory”, which was featured in Selma, to last night’s crowd and was received with a standing ovation and tears.