Lonnie Lynn (Common):
First, I would like to thank God, who lives in us all. Recently, John and I got to go to Selma and perform “Glory” on the same bridge that Dr. King and the people of the civil rights movement marched on 50 years ago. This bridge was once a landmark of a divided nation but now is a symbol for change. The spirit of this bridge transcends race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social status. The spirit of this bridge connects the kid from the South Side of Chicago dreaming of a better life to those in France standing up for their freedom of expression, to the people in Hong Kong protesting for democracy. This bridge was built on hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings.
John Stephens (John Legend):
Thank you. Nina Simone said it’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times in which we live. We wrote this song for a film that was based on events that were 50 years ago but we say that Selma is now because the struggle for justice is right now. We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song, we want to tell you we are with you, we see you, we love you, and march on. God bless you.
Lonnie Lynn (Common):
Thank you, Ava, Oprah and Harpo and Plan B.
The life of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. is examined through the dramatic events surrounding the historic 1965 freedom marches from Selma to Montgomery. Determined to fight the injustice and discrimination that African Americans continue to face in southern states despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, King chooses Selma as the starting point for the peaceful protest marches that will focus the world’s attention on the city and its response.
These are the first Academy Award nominations for John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn.
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