The song was perfect: Stand Up for Something. The commentary of the lyrics, the music, the delivery and the performance were powerfal. The song Stand Up for Something by Andra Day with guest artist Common from the soundtrack for Marshall was beautiful. After the song was done, there was something missing though. It felt incomplete because, aside from one person, I didn’t know who the performing artists had brought on stage to shine a light on quite literally. I don’t know why they were left nameless, but I don’t know if it matters either, because we are all talking about it. Who are these people? What did they stand up for?
The Oscars Beyond Glitz
The Oscars was a night of glam and glitz, artists and artistry, masters and mastery. It was an evening of elation and perhaps disappointment for some. It was also a night of change. It was a night of speaking, listening, and hearing new voices. Of course it wasn’t perfect and there are many more voices that need to be heard and many MANY more changes that need to be made but we start here. If they can stand up for something we can stand with them or find something to stand up for.
Define the life you’re living
Not by what you take or what you’re givin’
And if you bet on love there’s no way you’ll ever lose
Take a stand, make a stand for what’s right
It’s always worth, always worth the fight
- Andra Day, Common
Album: Marshall (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Activism Looks Good on Everyone
So who were those folks under the spotlight and why were they there? They all stand up for something in their lives, in their work and they stood up for something on the stage. I’ll start with the one face I recognized and go alphabetically from there. These are just quick little descriptions of each person. Please click through their sites to take a look at some of the incredible things they are doing that you can also be a part of!
José Andrés is an award winning chef and creator of ThinkFoodGroup, which includes José Andrés restaurants, hotels, food products, media, educational initiatives and philanthropy. Chef Andrés most recently has been recognized for his volunteer work delivering over three million meals to Puerto Rico’s residents post-Hurricane Maria. Chef Andrés stood clutching the Puerto Rican flag during the song, which he unfurled a the end.
Bana al-Abed (the little girl), with the help of her mother (or vice versa perhaps), used twitter to update the world about what was going on in Aleppo during air strikes and attacks from rebel forces.
Nicole Hockley had her son’s life taken from her by the Sandy Hook gunman. Hockley is the founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise. Sandy Hook Promise has built (and continues to build) a national movement of parents, schools and community organizations.
Janet Mock is a writer, producer and feminist who is tackling stigma through storytelling. Mock can be heard storytelling and speaking across the country as well as on her podcast Never Before.
Alice Brown Otter
Alice Brown Otter is a 13 year old activist from Standing Rock Sioux tribe (she speaks at 56:20 in the linked video). Alice Brown Otter was one of the Native youth who ran from Cannon Ball to Washington DC to draw attention to the Dakota Pipeline protests and leads the #NoDAPL movement.
Cecile Richards has a legacy of championing women’s rights and is the outgoing President of Planned Parenthood. Richards has recently completed her memoir Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead — My Life Story.
Bryan Stevenson is an award winning activist and law professor. Stevenson is the founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative.