“On Oscar night, this is the dream we tell / A land where Dreamers live and freedom dwells / Immigrants get the benefits / We put up monuments for the feminists / Tell the NRA they in God’s way / And to the people of Parkland, we say Ashe / Sentiments of love for the people / From Africa, Haiti to Puerto Rico.” With these words, Common opened his and Andra Day’s political Oscar night performance. The two sang the Oscar-nominated “Stand up for Something,” a song off the soundtrack for Marshall, and brought 10 activists up on stage with them. But if you were lost by their powerful performance, you may have missed those who joined them: Alice Brown Otter, Bana Alabed, Bryan Stevenson, Cecile Richards, Dolores Huerta, Janet Mock, José Andrés, Nichole Hockley, Patrisse Cullors, and Tarana Burke. Each of these activists represents an issue that need our immediate attention. Spanish Chef José Andrés, for example, held a Puerto Rican flag to draw attention to the plight of the island that is still struggling to recover after Hurricane Maria struck more than five months ago.
Andrés – who delivered more than 2 million meals to Puerto Ricans – held the folded flag in his hands as the performance went on, but eventually unfurled it. He took to Twitter to explain why he brought the flag on stage. “An homage to all chefs, volunteers, First responders, military, doctors, nurses that helped during last hurricane season everywhere … and especially my fellow Puerto Rican brothers and sisters,” he wrote on Twitter.
Andrés, who recently won the James Beard Humanitarian of the Year Award for his work in Puerto Rico, received a standing ovation at his first Oscars.
Check out the performance below: