Common and Andra Day celebrated the brave, unhailed activists and heroes during their performance of “Stand Up For Something” at the 90th Annual Academy Awards ceremony in Hollywood, California on Sunday night (Mar. 4).
Before welcoming the artists to the stage, comedian Dave Chappelle took a moment to talk about the significance of their song, what the actions of civil rights hero Thurgood Marshall meant to him personally.
“You know in American life there are these people who abandon comfortable circumstances and take on issues that are bigger than themselves,” starts Chappelle, before introducing the performers. “And that is a thankless, thankless job to take on […] Oftentimes our heroes are unsung and unrecognized, but tonight we’re joined by 10 extraordinary human beings who answered the call to action and they are the unsung heroes.”
“On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell. A land where dreamers live and freedom dwell. Immigrants get the benefits, we put up a monument for the feminist, tell the NRA, they’re in God’s way. And to the people of Parkland, we say ‘Ashe.’ Sentiments of love for the people from Africa, Haiti to Puerto Rico,” rapped Common.
Ten activists including Black Lives Matter’s own Patrisse Cullors, #GirlsLikeUs transgender rights activist Janet Mock, and #MeToo’s Tarana Burke stood behind Andra Day and Common as they performed the lead single from Marshall soundtrack. According to Variety, the artists decided on making them the highlight of their performance and personally contacted each activist.
Watch Andra and Common show major props to the people who make it their duty to make a change in our society and around the world.