Oscars 2018 And The Giant Puerto Rican Flag That Was Hardly Televised

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Singer Andra Day’s “Stand Up For Something” from the Marshall soundtrack earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song this year. The track, featuring Common, was performed at the 90th Academy Awards.

Under dim lights, Common opened the performance, acapella, paying respect to Haiti, Africa and Puerto Rico. Beside him stood Day, who began with gentle vocals before upping the intensity. But Day and Common were only two of 12 on the stage. Individual spotlights were dedicated to 10 activists, standing at attention and standing up for something.

The Academy released a list of those standing behind the performers on stage, accompanying each name with the cause for which each activist stood for. Amongst the 10 people on stage stood Patrisse Cullors of the Black Lives Matter movement, Cecile Richards with Planned Parenthood and José Andrés of World Central Kitchen.

As his peers did, Andrés stood facing the audience, but he brought something with him. The chef held something tightly rolled to his chest, eventually unfurling it and revealing a giant Puerto Rican flag. While he can be seen with the rod in hand, the event was un-televised. However, those present at the award show saw it and Andrés took to Twitter to explain it. The chef wrote: “An homage to all chefs, volunteers, First responders, military, doctors, nurses that helped during last hurricane season everywhere…and especially my fellow Puerto Rican brothers and Sisters.”

The Spanish chef, credited with bringing the concept of tapas to America, spent the last few months bringing meals to Puerto Rico. Andrés and his foundation made it their mission to feed millions after Hurricane Maria, last year. In fact, he was just awarded the James Beard Award for Humanitarian of the Year, Remezcla reports.

Also standing on stage was Bana Alabed, an 8-year-old Syrian refugee, who had her first book, titled “Dear World: A Syrian Girl’s Story of War and Plea for Peace,” last October. Alabed initially only tweeted, but after realizing the impact of her platform, she was inspired to write a book, recounting the experience of hiding out during airstrikes in 2016. The book has received praise from authors and critics alike.

The group received a standing ovation and thanks from The Academy for continued dedication.