XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
Feb. 22, 2015: On this day in 2015, veteran hip-hopper Common and R&B singer John Legend won the Oscar for Best Original Song for their civil rights ballad “Glory,” the theme song to the 2014 movie Selma.
Common and Legend‘s “Glory” also won the Critics’ Choice Award and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song that same year, so no one was surprised when the pair’s name was called at the 87th annual Academy Awards.
In winning the prestigious trophy, Common joined a very short list of rappers who’ve won Academy Awards. He solidified himself in the company of Eminem, Juicy J, DJ Paul, Frayser Boy, Ludacris and Diddy.
Selma, a historical biopic on the life of a young Dr. Martin Luther King, was highly acclaimed, boasted an all-star cast (David Oyelowo, Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey) and was also nominated at the Academy Awards for Best Motion Picture, but lost out to Birdman. Common and Legend gave a moving rendition of the song at the night’s same ceremony, backed by a full gospel choir.
When the pair found out they had won Hollywood’s highest honor, they used their acceptance speech as an opportunity to school the masses on social injustices still going on today. “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world,” said Legend. “There are more Black men under correctional control today than there were under slavery in 1850.”
Take a look at Common and John Legend’s speech below.