To inspire. To motivate. To educate.
It all started on a Sunday evening.
I had missed the live publication of the Oscars, so instead chose to revel in the delights of the show on a calm Sunday evening. I prepared myself a mug of green tea condensed with sweet honey, before delving into my cushions, to watch this glorious event.
Halfway into the Oscars, I fell asleep, eventually waking up to the handsome, attractive, soulful, melodious duo that is John Legend and Common. Initially, I thought to call my day to an end by hopping into bed. After a fierce internal battle, I opted instead to stay awake, delighting in the song- ‘glory.’
Now, I had a very limited knowledge of Common, besides the fact that he was some hip-hop star or something. John legend, on the other hand, I had always been a fan of. Ever since, I heard his neo-soulful sound on ‘ordinary people,’ I knew that the guy was bound to go far. Some would argue that there is a significant chasm between the 2 music genres evident in the song, and in the eyes of musical bigots, these 2 cannot even co-exist. I on the other hand was graced with a perfect melodious case, that advocated the cause and the fight for justice.
The beauty in glory, is the way in which it captures the never-ending, perpetual fight for equality and equity for all humans alive today. It doesn’t cater to a specific demographic, or eradicate the plights of those living in regions beyond the USA, but rather presents us as a collective people who are bound my human similitude. Each of us in a daily war and struggle, against the inequity and the unfairness that all of us, would at some point encounter.
My interpretation of the phrase: ‘One day when the war is won,‘ relates to this struggle existent in our world today. The war is otherwise a euphemism of all things corrupt, negative and dark in our era. This war is representative of the thousands of women dispersed across the globe, who sell the very essence of their beings, for money. Now this might be down to sheer ignorance, a lack of opportunities, or just immense desperation.
The war sheds a light on the hundreds of girls, who were captured by the feared, infamous Nigerian terrorist group- Boko Haram, simply to prevent them from furthering their education. Today, these precious females remain endangered and are still yet to be found, and in this sense we can extend the case of warfare to sexism and the misogynists who are in control of culture at large. These very males may prevent women from climbing up the ranks from maternal obligations to ownership and control.
The war is on the misrepresentation of both black men and women across the Western continent; it represents the dichotomy between the experiences and privileges of those who were fortunate to be born Caucasian, and those who aren’t.
The war is on bullying and oppression, occurrences which are rather pervasive, in schools worldwide.
The war is on the demise of the family structure- absent mothers/fathers, abusive parents, torturous relationships, teenage pregnancies, and substance abuse, all within families.
The war is on cases of religious extremism (something which isn’t exclusive to the Islamic faith alone, but rather extremism is a common factor across several religions, certainly more so than the media cares to depict).
The war is on the popular media that is adulated by the youth subculture today. It chooses to focus disproportionately on issues regarding sex, drunkenness, violence, instant gratification, materialism and self-idolation, as against shedding a light on topics such as: education, integrity, morality, virtue, responsibility, accountability, friendships etc, all ingredients that would no doubt, make our world a better place to live in.
Finally, the war is on those who have lost all hope in life. They have quietly, conscientiously observed all the negativity in the world and have chosen the easy way out, simply because they feel that there are few suitable mediums of change.
Although I feel ‘glory’ encapsulates all the misfortunes that prove prevalent in our day and age, I also feel strongly that this is usurped by its underlying tone of reincarnation, rebirth and hope.
Towards the end of the performance, a choir gradually builds up, behind Common and John Legend (who at this point, is still bellowing away.) Eventually, the song comes to an end, with the final lyrics uttered being…. ‘glory, glory.’
The power in this ending, is the aspiration it instills in all listeners of the song. The term glory has a messianic sound to it. If any one of us is able to involve themselves in an injustice that is close to their hearts, or which may even pertain to their current circumstance, then we have attained that glory, in that we have effectively intervened in culture, and altered it just like some of the historic greats were able to do. Often times people equate meaningful change to fame and prestige; they feel that change is only relevant and needed, when this change are able to impact several. To a degree this is accurate, but far more meaningful, are the little things we do on a daily, consistent basis, that serve a far greater purpose.
Think about it, if every ‘good’ action one performs is characterized as glory, surely 365 days of glory is something to boast about more so than a sole action of glory that may topple global dynamics. Furthermore, no change that occurs on a grand scale, ever starts at the moment of grandeur and prominence. The most significant changes are those with humble, modest beginnings.
Hence, as I joined the audience, in the standing ovation given to John and Common (albeit, I was in the comfort of my bedroom, my Pyjama top, and my favourite boxer shorts), it instantly occurred to me that this song served a far wider purpose than what Selma advocated. The backbone of glory rivets on it’s call for every human being to take a stand, and associate themselves with an area which they feel they can bring about some meaningful, lasting change in, no matter how tedious, slow and monotonous this path to change may be.
As I dozed off for the second time that Sunday, I dreamt of what I wanted my legacy to be, and of the steps that could propel me towards making this legacy my reality. I woke up the next day. Motivated, anxious and ready to bring about a change (no matter how small) that I could regard, as my glorious innovation. (no pun intended.)
To watch the Oscar video for yourself click here