In one of the most emotional performances at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, John Legend and Common took to the stage to perform "Glory," the song they recorded for Ava DuVernay's Selma. The pair closed out the show with their grand performance, and were proceeded by Beyonce singing the gospel "Take My Hand Precious Lord" in a heavenly white gown. Legend and Common's poignant performance was underscored and charged with a theme that ran throughout the awards ceremony, of singing for all those who don't have a voice.
Joining ] Legend on the piano and Common on the mic was a huge orchestra and a large chorus. The grandeur of the performers was perfect for "Glory," a song about hope and triumph and most of all, strength in solidarity. The pair won a Golden Globe for the song, and Common gave an exceptionally moving speech when he and Legend accepted the award, saying that Selma had awakened his humanity. The performance at the Grammys probably did the same for the audience and the viewers at home.
Projected onto screens behind them were footage from Selma and from real protests, ending with a haunting shot from the Millions March Protest in New York following the grand jury decision not to indict the cop that choked Eric Garner. Large, blown-up photos of the eyes of past victims of police brutality, the images were a sobering end to the Grammys ceremony, but a necessary one.
Legend and Common will also perform "Glory" at the Academy Awards on February 22, where they are nominated for Best Original Song. Though both the Oscars and the Grammys are criticized for their lack of diversity in their nominations, it felt like a victory that this year on the Grammys stage, there felt like there was an urgency for social awareness in John Legend, Common and Beyonce's final performances: that the music they are making is bigger than just an awards show.