Hands Up | best 2015 Oscars speeches | from the vocal chords of winners of Best Original Song | John Stephens & Lonnie Lynn |

Hands Up, marcher,Climate March, nYc 2014

Hands Up gesture from a marcher at the Climate March in nYc 2014

Though it’s already almost ancient history, 36 hours after the event, there were several individuals who stood out. The Guardian has the full List of Winners. I have not seen any of the films yet, and hadn’t looked at any trailers either. And because it is quite a marathon show, I have to admit that rather than being glued to the TV screen, I was continuously going back and forth to another room, troubleshooting some functionality obstacles of two music programs I’m working with (and still learning) which I did actually achieve by the top of the morning!

So given the fact that I had missed a number of speeches, I have to say that ‘Hands Up’ the most provocative and articulate messages came from the vocal chords of the two guys who won ‘best original song’ for the Martin Luther King Jr. documentary, Selma; Lonnie Lynn & John Stephens. Here are their acceptance speeches.

Composers John Legend and Common, their legal names John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn.

The award was given to the composers John Stephens a.k.a. Legend and Lonnie Lynn a.k.a. Common. Their speeches were powerful. Legend talked of how the bridge in Selma, Alabama is symbolic of peoples’ struggles all over the world today. Common mentioned that the bridge was built on hope and welded with compassion – and that the struggle continues – “We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today [in 2015] than there were under slavery in 1850.

The Rolling Stone have their descriptions of Oscars 2015’s 20 Best, Worst and WTF Moments.

I was quite impressed with Lady Gaga’s performance of the “Sound of Music” medley, though i personally as a rule don’t like medley’s, I understand that for time constraints and the range of songs of the original movie, that it played its part. For the first time Lady Gaga paired down to mere glitter (eyeshadow, cinderella gown) revealed that beneath all of the fanfare, she has a fantastic voice. She pulled off what the icon, July Andrews, manifested.

Lady Gaga, Academy Awards, Oscars 2015

Lady Gaga dressed down to cinderella Academy Awards 2015

And as I appreciated several other speeches for human rights, woman’s rights and the recognition that this is a country built through immigrants, the winner of the Best Adapted Screenplay of The Imitation Game, writer Graham Moore, had the most bold declaration of the stark naked truth.

Graham Moore, naked truth

Graham Moore the naked truth

In my opinion his speech will be felt by many, and probably save lives: empowering those who are on the fringes and/or excluded, feeling outcast from the majority because of their sexual identities and unique ways of living in society. Right on for speaking with stark naked honesty!

Joe Paterno’s ‘old school’ values | not bought-out by BIG Money |

Having watched the memorial service for Joe Paterno and attended Penn State University when I lived in Happy Valley for two years, I was really moved and inspired by what I witnessed in those two hours. Joe Paterno – as a coach, teacher and mentor – influenced so many peoples’ lives in such a positive way. A kid who was raised in Brooklyn and went on to coach college football for over 40 years; he left a legacy of honesty, loyalty, integrity and commitment. Beyond what has become the big business of football, Paterno was never bought-out. He remained loyal to his commitment to Penn State and to the players, whom he personally recruited and remained in touch with throughout their lives. He encouraged each player to strive for discipline and excellence; not only in sports, but also scholastically; emphasizing to ‘do the right thing’ ethically. Paterno communicated to each; to think first and foremost about the team, to play fair and to respect their opponents. He recognized that whereas success is measured externally by society, personal excellence is something internal, involving the satisfaction and clear conscience of knowing you have done your best.

There are a list of great quotes that Joe Paterno made, one of which one player stated has remained with him as a personal challenge throughout his life; “Today you’ll either be better or worse, but you’ll never stay the same … which is it going to be? It’s your choice!” His message always emphasized the “we” and “us”, recognizing that we are all in this life together, and that it’s up to each of us to help one another grow, and to make an impact towards making this world a better place! I’m humbled and honored by this man’s life, who has inspired so many to strive to be at their best, and to work together – regardless of race, creed, socioeconomic standing, for the sake of all.

Paterno represents an ‘old school’ of thinking, that our country has been moving away from; when credit and notoriety come to a person or establishment commensurate with what achievements and values they display, instead of being measured and valued quantitatively, by monetary means alone. A message diametrically opposed to what has overtaken our country today; in which BIG money infiltrates the media, government, sports and other arenas. A world in which “corpocrisy” surrounds us, and short-sighted goals are dictated by a few (the 1%), often resulting in crippling the lives of the rest, in addition to causing environmental degradation. These values that Joe Paterno revered were once the prevalent messages that the United States had imparted to the world, with great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., before the myopic, economically driven pandemic rose, in which money has become THE incentive, choking out the spirit of these loftier aspirations. We absolutely need to honor leaders of this caliber, to disseminate similar messages, that will inevitably ripple throughout the world.

A fuse has been re-ignited today for me to presently write further on the topic of BIG money, which I’ll be posting on my other blog http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/the-collusion-of-big-money-eroding-the-quality-of-life-for-alls /