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Starting with the 1992 album Can I Borrow a Dollar?, Common has made a name for himself as a leading hip hop recording artist, poet, actor, film producer, and activist. “From the moment he stepped on the scene in the early ’90s, Com has been a sharp battle rapper, noted for laying down bars in solid combinations of gut-punches like a prize fighter, yet capable of a sort of tipsy whimsy when he allows himself to be loose.” (Pitchfork) His latest album, Black America Again (2016), included the socially conscious track “Black America Again,” which featured Stevie Wonder, and the anthem “Letter to the Free,” the end-title track to Ava Duvernay’s powerful Oscar-nominated documentary 13TH, for which he received the 2017 Emmy for “Best Music and Lyrics.”
Common has also leveraged his influence as an activist throughout his career. More than 10 years ago, Common committed his time and resources to help inner-city youth in his hometown of Chicago through the Common Ground Foundation. Its work reaches high school students through mentoring and college preparation programs, with a focus on nutrition and healthy living, financial literacy, character development, and creative expression.
As an actor, Common has appeared on the big screen in the Oscar-nominated film Selma, for which he won the Academy Award and Golden Globe in 2015 for “Best Original Song in a Motion Picture” for “Glory,” with musician John Legend. Common will be kicking off the 40th season of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, which is dedicated to artists and activists, so mark your calendar for a conscious-raising Opening Night #AtTheBandshell!
In June 2013, Common made a surprise appearance during a Femi Kuti concert at Summestage.