Common Did Not Win Another Oscar But His Freestyle Still Gave Him Glory (Video)
Common did not win his second Oscar award last night (March 4). The Chicago, Illinois MC, actor, and author was nominated for “Best Original Song” for his “Stand Up For Something,” which appeared in the film, Marshall. That category (also featuring a nomination for past Common collaborator) Mary J. Blige ultimately went to Kristen Anderson-Lopez and husband Robert Lopez for Coco’s “Remember Me.”
However, Comm’ still found a way to leave an impression on the major event. As he demonstrated his MC skills, he also proudly and boldly displayed his activism on a big, live stage. The August Greene co-founder did this in several ways: what he said, and who said it beside. “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 rapped at the top of the televised performance. The MC addressed gun control, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (better known as the Dreamers bill), and women’s rights during a time of consideration for America’s statues and monuments.
During his performance of the song with Andra Day, Common deviated from the Oscar-nominated lyrics to spit, “These days we dance between love and hate / Don’t know the dates / 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.”
On stage, Common and Day were joined by Standing Rock youth protester Alice Brown Otter, Syrian refugee reporter Bana Alabed, Equal Justice Initiative creator and New York University Law School professor Bryan Stevenson, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, National Farmworkers Association co-founder Dolores Huerta, transgender rights activist and author Janet Mock, chef José Andrés (who provided over three million meals to Puerto Ricans after last year’s hurricane), activist (and mother to a slain Sandy Hook Elementary student Dylan) Nicole Hockley, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, and Me Too movement co-founder Tarana Burke. After the show, Common thanked his stage counterparts online.
At the close of the song, the 2015 Oscar-winner (with John Legend and Rhymefest) asked all to stand up for causes, while declaring his position in favor of Dreamers, immigrant rights, and fighting gun violence.
Today (March 5), NPR‘s Rodney Carmichael has a “First Listen” available to the public of August Greene’s self-titled debut album. The group is comprised of Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins. The trio released a Sounds Of Blackness cover (“Optimistic”) and a salute to J Dilla (“Black Kennedy”).