HOLLYWOOD – On a night that saw a lot of stars using the Oscar stage as a platform to discuss social issues, John Legend and Common made one of the biggest impressions when accepting the award for Best Original Song — and it continued backstage.
“Some of the things I spoke about today, about the rolling back of some of the Voting Rights Act is real and people feeling that around the country, what I spoke about regarding incarceration is real and it's destroying communities and it's a waste of our national resources to put so many people in prison, and it disproportionately affects black and brown communities,” said Legend, who co-wrote “Selma” closing-credits tune “Glory” with the rapper. “And so when we think about equality and freedom and justice, we know we've got more work to do. And we're going to do that work, we want to do that work, and we hope that our song is inspiration for those who want to do that work as well.”
For his part, Common — whose music has often tackled social issues — feels a responsibility to use his high-profile to promote social justice.
“I feel like to whom much is given much is required. And the fact that we have an opportunity to get to a stage like the Oscars, I mean how could you not say anything, especially representing a film like 'Selma,' representing the song 'Glory,' and just honestly being an artist that cares,” he said. ” Like beyond what we have done on this song, John has always made music about love. He's been doing things for education for a long time. He stands up for issues. …Those are the things that I feel like we can do as people in a position of power and influence. So yes, I feel it's our duty. And I don't hold any other artists accountable, but it's our duty, if you recognize that, to do it.”
It wasn't all so serious. Reacting to jubilant cries of several reporters when Julianne Moore was announced for Best Actress back at the ceremony, Common echoed the sentiments of many in the room when he noted, “You all knew she was getting that though, right?”