The Academy Awards literally built a bridge to present one of its performers during Oscars night.
Common and John Legend performed their Oscar-winning song “Glory” on and around a set created to look like the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., the famous structure featured in the film “Selma” and the starting point of Martin Luther King Jr.'s historic march to Montgomery.
A backing gospel choir kept their choreography solemn and minimal, as Common laid down those award-winning rhymes, “Freedom is like religion to us / justice is juxtaposition in us… Truant livin' livin' in us, resistance is us / That's why Rosa sat on the bus / That's why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up.” Legend sang and played at the piano and finished the song singing a cappella.
It was one of the more moving moments at the overall social-conscious Oscars, leaving many attendees in tears, “Selma” star Oyelowo gripping hands with producer and co-star Oprah Winfrey and with the whole house on its feet in a standing ovation.
“Hip-hop has played a big role in social consciousness across the world,” Common told me back when he and Legend were first nominated for Best Song at the Golden Globes last year. “I hold my self even more accountable. I always rap about change I wanna see coming. I want to be present and active in that change, and organizations that are creating that change.”
“Glory” was “Selma's” only win at the 2015 Academy Awards.