John Legend and Common won the golden globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture for their song “Glory” for the film “Selma.” Prince presented their category.
Read the full acceptance speech and their backstage press room interview below:
COMMON: I want to thank God and the Hollywood Foreign Press.
The first day I stepped on the set of “Selma,” I began to feel like this was bigger than a movie. As I got to know the people of the Civil Rights movement, I realize I am the hopeful black woman who was denied her right to vote. I am the caring white supporter killed on the front lines of freedom. I am the unarmed black kid who maybe needed a hand but instead was given a bullet. I am the two fallen police officers murdered in the line of duty. “Selma” has awakened my humanity, and I thank you, Ava. Ava, you are a superhero. You used the art to elevate us all and bring us together. I want to thank CAA. I want to thank Paramount for having the heart to make this movie. And Plan B, Jeremy, you know we love hip‑hop, and we brought music and art and soul here. Thank you, Plan B. Oprah, for what you do for the people from the past and creating for the future. We look to the future, and we want to create a better world. Now is our time to change the world. “Selma” is now.
JOHN LEGEND: I want to thank this man. He called me up, and he said, “John, I want you to help me write a song for this film.” And I’m so honored ‑‑ I was brought on at the last minute but I’m so honored to be a part to of this amazing film that honors such amazing people that did great work and is so connected to what’s happening right now. We still are in solidarity with those who are out there fighting for justice right now, and we’re so grateful to write this song, hopefully, as an inspiration to them. Thank you very much.
COMMON: Thank you.
Q. You talked about how struggle was universal you identify with the fallen police officers and some of the other victims. Can you expand on that?
COMMON: Being able to be a part of this film actually opened me up to allotted of things. I didn’t know there was that multi culture, black, white, there are different people from religious backgrounds and sexual orientation that came in with part of the civil rights movement. That opened my mind up obviously getting to see what happens right now in present day you see people coming from different backgrounds, no matter what color, they want justice and humanity. They care for the individual whether it is a young black kid or Latino or Asian or Jewish or white person, it’s all love. Basically the expansion is basically saying we all have to do this together. We have to come to an understanding and respect each other. I know it sounds basic and simple and repeated but when put into practice it works.
Q. Congratulations, guys. Obviously when you wrote the song you are representing an era like Sam Cooke and Nina Simone were kind of doing the same thing. Did you use that as an influence when you started this?
MR. LEGEND: Well, I thought about gospel music. Common called me and asked him to help him write this song and he threw out some title ideas and one of them was glory. As soon as I heard that word it inspired me to write the cords. I thought about the music I grew up on, gospel and I thought about how are important it was to the movie. You see so many gospel singers being inspiration to Dr. King, and they were part of the musical inspiration for the movie. I wanted to incorporate that, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye grew up singing in the church as I did and I think so many great soul singers have done that. It is the secular and putting that to music is an important part of what we do.
Q. Common, I ran into you at the hotel the other day and at that moment you seemed very happy. Did you foresee this happening tonight? Were you hoping for this?
COMMON: I hoped for it and wanted it and prayed for it. You never know what could happen. I believed in myself and I am a firm believer you have to think the things you want and visualize. I was planning for us to get it but humbly you never know what could happen. It is always best to be prepared.
MR. LEGEND: Wasn’t he prepared. This man is a leer assist. That speech was moving to me and I was just honored to be up there with him.
COMMON: John started this song off, as he said I gave him the title glory, but what he did when he played the piano and sang the words he sang, that’s what really showed me what we could do with this song. I am just grateful to have a brother in him and creative partner and is that talented and his voice really means something.
Q. Congratulations, guys. What are you guys going to be doing to celebrate tonight for both of you?
MR. LEGEND: I’m just happy and hang out with Common and my wife and my crew. Everybody is here. We are so excited and have a little bit of champagne and have a good night. I am really grateful.
COMMON: I am on a Golden Globe high, Glory high, so I don’t know what I will get into tonight but it will be fun. I want to be with my friends and loved ones, some of the family that I worked with, the Selma family. We are going to go out with everybody.
Q. Common, for you, are you going to continue music and pursue acting more? Right now what is your go to?
COMMON: God willing, both.
Q. And for John, will you go into acting at all?
COMMON: I have discovered that God willing, I can do both. I am a part of the film Selma, and we were able to do a song. I just released an album in 2014 called “Nobody Smiling” which is about social relevance going on. I am inspired to do music. I am inspired to be a great actor. It is all part of it, and I love it. Along with that activism is important for me, too.
MR. LEGEND: I feel like my job is to make impact, spread love, tell great stories, inspire people, whatever avenue we have an opportunity to do that, that’s what I am going to do. My company produces film and TV. We want to produce great stories and inspire and lift people. As a musician I want to do the same thing.