Last night, after winning a Golden Globe for the song “Glory” which he co-wrote with John Legend he paid tribute to his hero the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Common and Legend's song Glory plays over the closing credits of the film “Selma” and was written at the request of director Ava DuVernay.
Selma was written by Paul Webb and is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by King (played by David Oyelowo), James Bevel and Hosea Williams. Common also paid tribute to Dr King, saying: "He was one of the first people that I looked at as a hero. He was my first hero.”
In his acceptance speech, rapper and actor Common, 42, said: "The first day I stepped on the set of Selma I began to feel like this was bigger than a movie. As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights Movement, I realized I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote. I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand, but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. Selma has awakened my humanity."
Interesting to note that the winning song began with a phone call (from London) when Common reached out to R&B singer Legend, he might be young but he has nine Grammys, not shabby!
Using modern communication, they two emailed and bam — out comes the song title “Glory.”
The song is expected to be an Oscar contender. Common has also been nominated for two Grammys next month, for best rap album for Nobody's Smiling and best rap collaboration for Blak Majik, a song that also features Jhene Aiko.
Glory references the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, with the words:
'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.’
Here is what COMMON had to say about “Selma” in his own words:
“Well, it’s a beautiful honor to be a part of Selma because as a kid I think the first person that I read about and came across that black people and white people both recognize as a hero was Dr. Martin Luther King. And he was always something I really, like, looked up to, and it became a point in my life where, you know, I became real [PH] Malcolm X-ist and it was like, I don’t know, Martin may be soft. But you know, as I grew and evolved as a human being, I realized that this peaceful protest is one of the strongest things you can do, and the strength that it took to do that.
Me being involved in Selma, like, taught me that it was women, it was men, it was children, it was a spirit that they said we want freedom, we want justice, and a lot of people contributed to that. You know, because originally I was like, man, as Martin Luther King, you know is Martin Luther King, but to get to meet the everyday people, some people we don’t know their names.
Yeah, we do know of the Annie Lee Coopers and we do know of the [PH] C.T. Vivians, but it’s some people like I had a journalist yesterday talk to us about her uncle who was out marching, and we don’t know his name, but everybody contributed, and what this film did was make me realize that we all have a part in contributing towards making the world better. So it was like me being – this was like a life changing experience for me because I felt I could do more, you know, just being able to be James Bevel and be around Ava and be around the cast, and the people that we worked with. I was, like, I have to do more, I mean, learning about what they did, I got to do more. And now people are out there doing more. And we want to do more. So I’m just grateful to be a part of it, and the revolution is here.”