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LOS ANGELES — Hollywood seized the microphone at the Oscars on March 4 and wasn’t shy about its passions, sprinkling political moments throughout a show that included anti-gun and pro-immigration references, as well as mocking the President’s Twitter habits.
Rapper Common singled out the National Rifle Association, immigrants, women’s rights, and the movement to prevent gun violence during a performance of his Oscar-nominated song “Stand Up for Something.” His rap led into Andra Day’s singing the tune, co-written with Diane Warren for the movie Marshall.
In front of a global audience, Sandy Hook Promise Co-Founder and Managing Director Nicole Hockley was among those who joined Common and Day for a moving performance of the song. In an effort to express the true meaning of the song, according to a press release from Sandy Hook Promise, Common and Day incorporated politics and activism into the performance by included people who advocate for change on a grassroots level every day. The duo invited ten men and women to join them during their performance, literally standing up for what each advocates for.
“I salute Common and Andra Day for using their Oscar moment to highlight critical societal issues such as gun violence,” Ms Hockley said the following afternoon. “It was an honor to be included on stage with other activists who are fighting for change, at a moment when real change feels possible.
“Common and Andra’s generosity to us is a reminder for all to keep the momentum of our movement going,” she added.
Also onstage were 8-year-old Syrian refugee and author Bana Alabed; José Andrés, co-founder, ThinkFoodGroup; #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke; Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors; 87-year-old Delores Huerta, co-founder of the United Farm Workers of America; Janet Mock, who established the #GirlsLikeUs Twitter campaign; Alice Brown Otter, from Standing Rock Youth Council; and Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director, Equal Justice Initiative.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tweeted a photo of the list of those planning to be on stage for the performance, saying “We thank those who stand up for something.”
Ms Hockley later tweeted about the Oscar experience. She shared a photo of herself standing with Common and Dave Chappelle, saying “Two amazing people.” A few hours later she shared another photo, this time with Mark Hamill, and the comment “Pretty amazing moment at the Vanity Fair party. Thanks for talking with me!”
Prior to the ceremony on Sunday, Ms Hockley shared a photo of her son Dylan, one of the children killed on 12/14. Her message then: “It’s an honor to be at #Oscars90, but I never forget why I’m here.”
Common, an Oscar winner in 2015, also took aim at President Donald Trump.
“These days we dance between love and hate,” he rapped on Sunday night. “A president that chose 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.”
The performance began with Common, dressed entirely in black, in the spotlight speaking lyrics before giving way to Day.
“Tell the NRA they in God’s way, and to the people of Parkland we say Ase,” Common rapped, referencing the February 14 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla. Ase is a West African philosophy that means to make things happen and produce change.
He also offered up “sentiments of love for the people from Africa, Haiti to Puerto Rico.”
The song later lost in the original song category to “Remember Me” from Coco.
Sandy Hook Promise is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, led by several family members whose loved ones were killed on 12/14. SHP’s mission is to prevent gun violence (and other forms of violence and victimization) before it happens by educating and mobilizing youth and adults to identify, intervene, and get help for at-risk individuals.
SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible program and policy solutions that address the “human-side” of gun violence by preventing individuals from ever getting to the point of picking up a firearm to hurt themselves or others. Its words, actions, and impact nationwide are intended to honor all victims of gun violence by turning 12/14 into a moment of transformation.
For more information, visit sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.
Associated Press content was used in the creation of this story.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Sunday evening Tweeted a photo of the list of those planning to be on stage for the performance by Common and Andra Day.