Presented by: Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series
Tickets: Free Admission - Ticket Required (Limit 2)
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Common, hailed as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists, delivers messages of self- respect, love and activism in music and speeches that inspire all audiences. He rose to prominence in hip-hop, having recorded over seven albums: Can I Borrow a Dollar?, Resurrection, One Day It'll All Make Sense, Like Water For Chocolate, Electric Circus, BE and Finding Forever. To produce both BE and Finding Forever, Common joined forces with fellow Chicago native and rap music mega-star Kanye West. This dynamic partnership resulted in four Grammy Award nominations in addition to two MTV Video Music Awards nominations, including one for Best Hip Hop Video.
In January 2007, he made his acting debut co-starring opposite Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys, and Ryan Reynolds in Smokin' Aces for Universal Pictures. Since then he's co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott; in David Ayer's Street Kings, starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker; in Wanted, opposite Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman; Terminator Salvation, directed by McG and starring Christian Bale, and Date Night, which stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey and is directed by Shawn Levy. Common wrapped his first lead role in Just Wright, starring opposite Queen Latifah for FOX Searchlight. He is currently starring in the new AMC TV series, Hell on Wheels, which debuted in November, 2011.
In 2007 he launched the Common Ground Foundation, dedicated to empowering urban youth to realize their full potential. In 2009, Common was able to motivate and empower collegiate minds across the country, speaking at such prestigious institutions as California University of Pennsylvania, University of Memphis, Wright State University, University of Rochester, and KIPP Charter Schools
Common also offers a younger generation a better understanding of self-respect and love, utilizing the cultural relevance of hip-hop, in the children's books he has written. The first one, entitled The MIRROR and ME, teaches lessons of life, the human spirit, and human nature. His follow-up book, I Like You But I Love Me, was recently nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and his third book, M.E. (Mixed Emotions), was released in 2008. His latest book, Someday It'll All Make Sense, a memoir about life and growing up, was released in September 2011.
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