“To me to be a storyteller is really to — you got to be able to speak the truth, you’ve got to be able to absorb life and take in life and be able to interpret it in a way that anybody in this room could say, ‘Man, that’s my story, I can relate to that.’ And it’s just finding the humanity in the stories and the creativity in the stories.”
Discussing creative process at
the 87th Academy Awards in 2015
Grammy, Emmy and Oscar-winning
Artist, Actor, Author and Activist
Tuesday, October 15, 2019 · Strahan Arena · 7:30 p.m.
Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and Grammy-winning artist, actor, author and activist, Common continues to break down barriers with a multitude of critically acclaimed, diverse roles and continued success at the box office.
Common's 12th album, Let Love, was released on August 30, 2019, featuring the new single, "Show Me That You Love." His previous studio album, Black America Again, was released in November 2016. It included the socially conscious single "Black America Again," featuring 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 also received the 2017 Emmy for Best Music and Lyrics. After collaborating on the album, Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins joined together to form the supergroup, August Greene. The trio made their live debut in January 2018 at New York's Highline Ballroom as part of Glasper's annual Grammy Awards party and released their first joint album through Amazon Music.
Common was recently featured on Andra Day's song for Open Road Films' Marshall soundtrack, "Stand Up for Something," co-written by Common and eight-time Academy Award nominee Diane Warren. The original song received nominations for an Oscar, a Grammy, an NAACP Image Award and a Critics' Choice Award, as well as the Hollywood Song Award at the 2017 Hollywood Film Awards.
Common is known for his role in the Oscar-nominated film, Selma, a film centered on the civil rights marches that changed America. Alongside John Legend, he won the Academy Award and Golden Globe in 2015 for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture for "Glory," which was featured in the film.
Last year, Common was seen on the silver screen in the film The Hate U Give with Amanda Stenberg, Issa Rae and KJ Apa. He lent his voice to the animated film Smallfoot, alongside an all-star cast of Channing Tatum, Zendaya, James Corden and LeBron James.
In 2017, Common starred opposite Keanu Reeves in the highly anticipated sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2. Behind the scenes, he serves as an executive producer of Showtime's hit TV series The Chi, a coming-of-age story set in Chicago.
Following his bestselling 2011 memoir, One Day It'll All Make Sense, Common's latest book, Let Love Have the Last Word, was released in May 2019 and was an instant New York Times bestseller. Let Love Have the Last Word shares Common's own unique and personal stories of the people and experiences that have led to a greater understanding of love and all it has to offer.
For the past few years, Common has dedicated countless hours and has been deeply engaged in social justice and advocacy work around mass incarceration, mental health and voting. After the success and impact of his Imagine Justice concert in 2017 and his Hope & Redemption Tour to eight different prisons, Common decided to establish and launch Imagine Justice as a nonprofit in 2018. Centered at the intersection of art and activism, Imagine Justice is dedicated to leveraging the power of art to advocate for communities around the country, to fight for justice and equality and to stand united against injustice wherever it appears.