Entertainment

The Activists Who Performed With Common & Andra Day At The Oscars Are A Seriously Impressive Bunch

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In the midst of performing a distinctly commanding rendition of "Stand Up For Something," Andra Day and Common brought activists onto the Oscars stage, including representatives from both the Black Lives Matter and #MeToo movements. The soulful track, from the Marshall film soundtrack, was up for Best Original Song at Sunday night's Oscars ceremony. And, while "Stand Up For Something" might not have taken home an award this year, the performance proved as gripping as ever.

In light of the song's burgeoning socio-political relevance (it's become a sort of anthem over the past few months, cropping up during the L.A. Women's March back in January and again as a rallying cry for gun violence prevention in February), Common and Day hand-picked a stacked lineup of ten activists to join them onstage during the moving performance. Common, who is a noted activist himself, sang his VIPs' praises during a pre-show interview with the L.A. Times on March 4. He said,

"The activists we asked to join us on stage are people who have dedicated their lives to making the world better. For some because their own personal experiences have driven them to this place, and some because they've seen the injustices going on in the world and felt they had to take action."

According to the Times' report, Day echoed Common's sentiments. "I am truly honored to share the stage with such powerful people," she said. "People who work, sacrifice and have fought through their personal pain to make the world a better place."

Meet the activists who joined Common and Andra Day onstage below.

Bana Al-abed

At just eight years old, Bana Al-abed is already an established political activist, author, and social media personality to boot. A Syrian refugee originally hailing from the rebel-held city of Aleppo, Al-abed's activism first gained international attention in September 2016, when she began to document the siege of her city via Twitter. (As her Twitter bio explains, the account is managed by Al-abed's mother, Fatemah, who was an English teacher prior to the onset of the war.)

Over the course of the next year and a half, Al-abed would continue to chronicle the Syrian conflict through her own eyes, tweeting about the airstrikes, famine, displacement, and general devastation she experienced on a day-to-day basis. Last October, Al-abed published her first book, entitled Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace. The book, which has been met with wide acclaim since its release, provides readers with a gripping first-hand account of the issues Al-abed has been tweeting about for years, in remarkably poignant narrative form.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Patrisse Cullors

Patrisse Cullors is a Los Angeles-based artist, organizer, and activist. She has long been an outspoken advocate for prison abolition (in L.A., especially) and co-founded the #BlackLivesMatter movement in 2013 alongside fellow "radical" organizers Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi. Cullors also founded — and serves as executive director of — Dignity and Power Now, a grassroots organization that advocates for the rights of incarcerated people, their families, and affected communities.

According to its mission statement, the organization is rooted in several key principles, including "abolition, healing justice, and transformative justice." Its current campaign focuses on establishing "effective civilian oversight" of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department and pushing for bolstered mental health programs and other community resources.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Dolores Huerta

At 87 years old, Dolores Huerta is entering into her sixth decade as a pillar of labor activism in the U.S. and a leader of the Chicano civil rights movement. A lauded civil rights activist, Huerta co-founded the National Farmworkers Association (which later became the United Farm Workers) in 1962 alongside Cesar Chavez, who rose to prominence as a leading figure in the farm worker's movement of the late '60s.

Together with Chavez, Huerta helped to organize the famous Delano grape strike in 1965 and spearheaded negotiations for the workers' contract that was devised in its aftermath. Huerta is also president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, which she founded in 2002. The organization seeks to inspire and engage a new generation of leaders to advocate across a variety of issues, including: education & youth development, health & environment, and economic development.

L-R: Guest, Dolores Huerta / Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Cecile Richards

Cecile Richards is a prominent pro-choice activist who has doubled as the president of Planned Parenthood since 2006. As president, Richards has dedicated much of her career to fighting for affordable, accessible healthcare for women and their families.

In 2010, Richards was also elected to the trustee board of the Ford Foundation, an organization whose primary mission concerns the basic tenets of human welfare: reducing poverty, bolstering democratic values, and promoting international cooperation.

L-R: Lily Adams, Cecile Richards / Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

José Andrés

José Andrés is a Spanish-American chef credited with founding World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing healthy food to individuals and families who have been impacted by disasters. Andrés formed the organization in response to the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and has since taken its services to several regions touched by natural disasters.

Most recently, Andrés took World Central Kitchen to Puerto Rico, where the organization helped to provide more than 1 million meals to victims of Hurricane Maria. Andrés wrote a book chronicling the experience, We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time, which is slated for release in September 2018.

Jason Kempin/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Nicole Hockley

Five years ago, Nicole Hockley lost her son, Dylan, during the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. In the shooting's aftermath, Hockley became an outspoken advocate for gun violence prevention. She is currently the managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, an organization whose mission is rooted in preventing gun-related deaths of all kinds, including those due to crime, suicide, and accidental discharge.

According to its website, Sandy Hook Promise seeks to engender a national movement of parents, schools, and community organizations alike to develop comprehensive and widespread gun violence prevention programs.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Janet Mock

Janet Mock is a writer, TV host, and trans rights activist. In addition to her role as a contributing editor for Marie Claire (trailing her former position as staff editor of People's website), Mock published her debut memoir, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More, in 2014, which immediately became a New York Times bestseller.

Mock is also credited with founding the #GirlsLikeUs movement on Twitter. And, per the upcoming release of Pose, Mock is also the first trans woman of color to write and produce a TV series.

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Tarana Burke

Tarana Burke is a civil rights activist and founder of the #MeToo movement, before the same hashtag began trending in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations. Burke is credited as the first person to use the phrase "Me Too" in 2006, as a means of raising awareness about preponderance of sexual abuse in society. Of course, the phrase has since given rise to a broader movement, which aims to put a stop to sexual violence and encourages women to speak up about their experiences.

Burke is also the senior director of Girls for Gender Equity, a Brooklyn-based organization that strives to facilitate the overall development of young women of color through various programs spanning education, organizing, and physical fitness.

L-R: Tarana Burke, Kaia Burke / Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Alice Brown Otter

Alice Brown Otter is a 14-year-old civil rights activist who gained international attention in 2016 when she completed a 1,519-mile run from the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to Washington, D.C., where she proceeded to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In addition to her work with Standing Rock, Otter has since continued on to lend her voice and activism to the #NoDAPL movement.

Far Right: Alice Brown Otter / Handout/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson is an attorney and social justice activist. Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization based in Montgomery, Alabama, that provides legal representation to incarcerated people who have been wrongly convicted of crimes, denied a fair trial, or otherwise denied access to effective representation.

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
110