Watch Singer Stan Walker Perform ‘I Am,’ the Rousing Single From Ava DuVernay’s ‘Origin’ | Video

Power Women Summit: “I have not felt this way about a song since the first time I heard ‘Glory’ by John Legend for my film ‘Selma,'” DuVernay gushed

Ava DuVernay’s “Origin” isn’t in theaters yet, but the attendees at TheWrap’s Power Women Summit were treated to a live performance of the song “I Am” from the film, performed by Māori artist Stan Walker.

“I want to introduce you to an artist who I’ve come to truly love and feel connected to personally,” the filmmaker said before Walker took the stage on Tuesday.

DuVernay recalled how she was blown away by Walker’s cover of Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam” and tracked him down thousands of miles away in his native New Zealand via their sole mutual contact on Instagram.

The rest, as they say, was history. Walker screened “Origin” and turned around “I Am” two and a half weeks later in a collaboration with music producer Michael Fatkin.

“This is really buzzy — we say buzzy,” Walker recalled to TheWrap after getting in touch with DuVernay. “I was obviously shocked, but I just felt super privileged and blessed because I was ready for something like this. As a storyteller, I’m ready for something like this. I’m ready. And when when she sent me the film to watch, this was my response to it.”

The chorus contains lyrics in Māori and references the place where the Māori people believe they are created from.

“I Am” also is a form of reclamation. “My hope was that [my] people would know that their superpower is the very thing that colonization [is] trying to take away: from our language and our culture, our history, our stories, our own narratives,” the indigenous Polynesian performer added.

“I have not felt this way about a song since the first time I heard ‘Glory’ by John Legend for my film ‘Selma,’” DuVernay gushed. “I was so pleased and so blessed that somehow the universe brought us together, that this song ends the work in ‘Origin’ that we spent two years building.”

Listen to “I Am” above and check out “Origin” when it opens in limited release on Dec. 8 or when it opens wide on Jan. 19.

For all of TheWrap’s Power Women Summit 2023 coverage, click here.

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