Tuesday, February 24, 2015


By Kathleen

One thing stood out for me this week and that was John Legend's and Common's performance of "Glory" at the 87th Oscars on Sunday evening. I've included a link to a video which includes the very moving lyrics of the song:

Following their powerful performance, which was given a standing ovation by the Oscar audience, John Legend and Common justly won the Best Original Song Oscar for "Glory" from the film, "Selma."

The performance took place in front of a backdrop of Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge. Legend and Common were accompanied by a slowly marching choir which simulated the hundreds of protestors who in 1965 walked across the bridge calling for the right to vote. Many in the audience had tears in their eyes as the performance evoked powerful feelings within them.

Watching it at home I felt the same rush of feeling and no matter how many times I replay it I still feel emotional stirrings pouring through me. Clearly, due to the recent events in Ferguson, (and other events too) many people recognise that the struggle for racial equality is not yet over and part of the song's lyrics reflect the truth of this fact.

'Resistance is us,
That's why Rosa sat on the bus.
That's why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up.
When it go down we woman and man up,
They say, "Stay down" and we stand up.
Shots, we on the ground, the camera panned up,
King pointed to the mountain top and we ran up.'

Legend and Common are artists who understand that they have a platform and that they should use it to great purpose. 

Legend, accepting the award, said: "We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago, but we say that 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 were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you, 'We are with you. We see you. We love you. And march on.'"

Legend and Common were right to include recent events in the song because unfortunately the United States may not get to that glorious day any time soon unless the present struggle for racial equality is recognised now. Especially now since there are still some politicians who think that the first black president of the United States isn't one of them and that he doesn't love his country as much as they do despite all the evidence to the contrary. 

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