Stand Up For Something
by Andra Day (featuring Common)

Album: Marshall (Music From and Inspired By the Motion Picture) (2017)
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Songfacts®:

  • Diane Warren and Common wrote "Stand Up For Something" for the biographical film Marshall. The 2017 legal drama movie focuses on an early legal case of lawyer Thurgood Marshall, who would eventually become the first African-American Supreme Court justice.
  • Warren told Billboard that after reading the script for Marshall, "I scribbled down 'it all means nothing if you don't stand up for something.'"

    She added: "I kind of had a vision of the song I wanted to write for this. And I wanted to write a song that could have been sung by Sam Cooke. Like 'A Change Is Gonna Come,' or 'People Get Ready.' Those kinds of songs."
  • After writing the lyrics for this rallying cry, Warren had the idea to bring Common on board for a guest rap.

    "My intention was to put out positive energy at a time when so many people are feeling discouraged and a lot of fear is out there," said Common about his verse.

    He added that he wrote the rhymes, "to remind us that in these days and times, we need more art that's part of the movement."
  • The song resonated with groups fighting injustice and became a protest anthem for several causes, including the #MeToo movement, gun violence prevention, and immigration rights awareness. When the song was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, Day and Common decided to invite 10 political activists to join them on the Oscar stage during their performance of "Stand Up For Something." The group included Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement; Patrisse Cullors, queer activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement; and Alice Brown Otter, the 14-year-old citizen of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who protested the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    Common explained before the show: "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."

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