Harriet star Cynthia Erivo performed “Stand Up” at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday. A 30-second teaser of the actress portraying Aretha Franklin in an upcoming series also aired at the awards ceremony.
Erivo performed the track in a bedazzled gold cape, flanked by background gospel singers. The lead single for the Harriet soundtrack, “Stand Up” traces the slave-turned-abolitionist’s incredible journey: “Early in the mornin’/Before the sun begins to shine,” she sang. “We’re gonna start movin’/Toward that separating line.”
Erivo co-wrote the track with Joshuah Brian Campbell, a 2016 Harvard graduate who gained fame with his civil rights anthem “Sing Out/March On.” “I thought that a collaboration between the two of us would make for something really special,” Erivo told Variety.
“Stand Up” is nominated for Best Original Song, and Erivo is nominated for Best Actress. She is the third consecutive actress to receive those nods for the same film. In 2019, Lady Gaga was nominated for her role as Ally Maine in A Star Is Born and for “Shallow,” while in 2018 Mary J. Blige was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in Mudbound and for “Mighty River.”
Harriet is Erivo’s third film — she previously starred in 2018’s Widows and Bad Times at the El Royale. In 2016, she starred as Celie in The Color Purple musical on Broadway, which earned her a Tony for Best Actress.
National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha will consist of eight parts, premiering on Memorial Day, May 25th. It will air over four consecutive nights.