During tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony, Common and John Legend won the “Best Song” trophy for their smash hit duet “Glory” from the Selma motion picture soundtrack. After accepting their awards, Legend and Common delivered an acceptance speech as powerful as the song. Read their full speeches below.
Common: “First I would like to thank God that lives in us all. 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 don 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation, but now it’s a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transforms 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.”
John Legend: “Nina Simons 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 that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. 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 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. God bless you.”