Common is no stranger to the Academy Awards, and Sunday night (March 4), he once again proved he can deliver a riveting performance in front of Hollywood’s elite. The rapper graced the stage to perform the Oscar-nominated song “Stand Up for Something” alongside singer Andra Day at the 2018 Academy Awards.
He kicked off the track, which was nominated in the category of Best Original Song, with some poignant words of a perfect world where freedom dwells, immigrants get benefits and feminist monuments exist. “On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell/A land where Dreamers live and freedom dwells/Immigrants get the benefits/We put up monuments for the feminists/Tell the NRA they in God’s way/And to the people of Parkland we say Ase/Sentiments of love for the people/From Africa, Haiti to Puerto Rico,” Common rhymed.
Shortly after Common called out the NRA, the association quickly responded via Twitter by tweeting a video to Common and the Academy about the its commitment to honoring U.S. veterans. “.@common @TheAcademy: This is what the #NRA and its members stand for. #Oscars,” the NRA tweeted.
Once Andra Day began showcasing her powerful vocals dedicated to standing up for what you believe in, the blacked-out stage behind her began to highlight one person after the other in a spotlight until a group of 10 men and women appeared. Each person standing on the stage is an activist chosen by Common and Andra to take part in the performance.
Alice Brown Otter (Standing Rock Youth Council), Bana Alabed (author and Syrian refugee), Bryan Stevenson (Equal Justice Initiative), Cecile Richards (Planned Parenthood Action Fund), Dolores Huerta (Dolores Huerta Foundation, United Farm Workers of America), Janet Mock (#GirlsLikeUs), José Andrés (ThinkFoodGroup), Nicole Hockley (Sandy Hook Promise), Patrisse Cullors (Black Lives Matter) and Tarana Burke (Me Too) were among the 10 activists joining Common and Andra onstage during their Oscars performance.
Also during the performance, Common seemingly took aim at President Trump. “These days we dance between love and hate/Don’t know the date so we stay awake/A knee we take for our soul’s sake/ New victory off of old faith/A President that trolls with hate/He don’t control our fate because God is great/When they go low we stay in the heights/I stand for peace, love and women’s rights,” the Chicago native delivered.
“Stand Up for Something,” featured in the film Marshall and written by Common and critically acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren, was nominated along with “Mighty River” from Mudbound (by Mary J. Blige, Raphael Saadiq and Taura Stinson); “Remember Me” from Coco (by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez); “The Mystery of Love” from Call Me by Your Name (by Sufjan Stevens); and “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman (by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul).
“Remember Me,” from the animated film Coco, took home the Oscar win tonight.
This marks Common’s second Academy Awards performance and nomination. Three years ago, Common and John Legend performed their Oscar-nominated track “Glory” at the 2015 Academy Awards. The two longtime friends and collaborators took home the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Glory” the same night