Listen to the Song That Ties Together “Selma”

a scene from Selma

I just watched Selma last night and loved it. The film opens nationwide this weekend and one of the best moments is at the very end, when the song Glory kicks in right as the credits start rolling. At this point, my emotions were tied up in a knot, thinking about the injustice and brutality shown in the film, and then John Legend and Common’s Glory swelled up behind Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering a speech. The lyrics of the song explicity connect the racism in the film to current events. John Legend sings, “Truant livin’ livin’ in us, resistance is us/ That’s why Rosa sat on the bus/ That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up.” 

 

In a recent interview, Common talked about how the song and movie were personally important to him, “Everything about this movie made me want to be a part of this. The people coming together to change the world, that’s who I am… I left working on Selma and thought, ‘I’m going to be more strategic, more smart, and I’m going to do more for the community.” 

As critic Nijla Mu’min wrote in her review for Bitch

Scenes in the film will jolt you into the present: watching Jimmie Lee Jackson’s mother grieve in 1965 for the son she will never see again made me immediately think of the family of Tamir Rice, the young black boy who was murdered by police officers this year for toting a toy gun in Ohio. Selma is now. It lets us into the interior spaces of pain, progress, and movement that no formulaic historical drama could ever capture.

Glory is up for a Golden Globe this weekend for Best Original Song. 

Related Reading: An Interview With Ava Duvernay on Selma, Hollywood, and Telling the Stories of Black Women.

by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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