Although Ava DuVernay was snubbed by the Oscars for the Best Director category, her Selma film did notch Best Picture and Best Original Song nods. Common and John Legend’s moving “Glory” track, which recently won a Golden Globe, adds to a legacy of Black artists recognized by the Academy.
Issac Hayes‘ “Theme From Shaft” was released in 1971, highlighting the tale of the crime-fighting blaxploitation hero, John Shaft. Hayes was given the Best Original Song award in 1972 and it made him the first African-American to win an Oscar for any non-acting category. Hayes was also the first person to win the award who also wrote and sang the winning song.
It was a drought of sorts from that point on until 1984. That year, Irene Cara’s “Flashdance…What A Feeling” from the film Flashdance won for Best Original Song. Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called To Say I Love You” from the Woman In Red soundtrack won the following year. Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me” from the White Nights soundtrack won the year after that.
Prince was the first Black artist to win an Oscar in the now-defunct Best Original Song Score category for “Purple Rain.” A few years passed before another Black artist would score an Oscar. Herbie Hancock won an Oscar in 1987 for Best Original Score for the film, Round Midnight.
Memphis rap group Three Six Mafia stunned the world when it won the Best Original Song Oscar in 2006 for the thumping “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” from the Hustle & Flow film.
Source: Black America Web