Last year, the Detroit Youth Choir sang its heart out and reached second place on NBC's "America's Got Talent."
This year, the group's young singers have a different goal. They're using their voices to call for racial justice with their version of "Glory," the Oscar-winning song from the 2014 movie "Selma."
In a video for the recording shot in downtown Detroit on Saturday, the choir performs new lyrics that speak to the protests and pandemic that have defined 2020. "Something must be done as soon as possible, and if we come together we're unstoppable. ... Fists up, it's time to come together on our own street," recites rapper and former DYC member IndigoYaj, who contributed fresh lyrics.
'America's Got Talent': Detroit Youth Choir's performance leaves Gabrielle Union in tears
A powerful segment shows DYC members walking along the city's "Power to the People" mural that was painted earlier this month.
"Beautiful. Powerful. Thank you," tweeted John Legend, who wrote "Glory" with Common and Rhymefest.
"This rendition of 'Glory' by DYC moves me to my core. As it did in our film 'Selma,' this version captures our historical and daily cry for justice and equality as Black people in America," said actor David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in director Ava DuVernay's acclaimed film, in a statement.
The spark for combining DYC and "Glory" has ties to the long friendship between Oyelowo and Alistair Wilson, the managing director of Imagination Detroit, a branch of the global experience agency that works with Ford Motor Company.
America's Got Talent: Gabrielle Union felt 'isolated' after ‘AGT' departure
An accompanying video was made by a Detroit director, Everett Stewart, in which a crew shot footage of city landmarks At one point while filming was underway , multiple police cars arrived to see what all the young people with protest signs were doing. Once the project was explained, the officers to the cops, they stayed to watch some of it.
"They ended up in tears," says Wilson.
Both the recording and video were made under COVID-19 safety measures that included daily health screenings for more than 40 DYC singers, along with social distancing during rehearsals and performances and mask-wearing whenever possible.
Momentum for the song continues to build online. An Instagram posting by "America's Got Talent" host Terry Crews has accumulated more than 126,000 hits in a couple of days.
"The incredible @dycofficial blessed my timeline today with this wonderful message about peace, love and unity!" Crews wrote.
The DYC's own Instagram post has reached about 4,500 hits.
The new lyrics, created by the kids and IndigoYaj, are "so of this moment and so powerful," says Wilson. The song is set to be released soon on platforms like iTunes and Spotify.
Proceeds will to go to the DYC and racial justice initiatives.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: 'America's Got Talent' group sings new take on John Legend's 'Glory'