The North Carolina Central University Lyceum Committee will welcome hip-hop artist, author, actor and activist Common on Thursday, April 4, in the McDougald – McLendon Gym. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Born Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., Common rose to prominence as one of hip-hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists. He has recorded nine studio albums, the latest of which is “The Dreamer/The Believer” and was released in 2011.
Often referred to as the “King of Conscious Hip-Hop,” Common motivates and empowers collegiate minds across the country. He has written several children’s books focused on self-respect and love, utilizing the cultural relevance of hip-hop. In “The MIRROR and ME,” he teaches lessons of life, the human spirit and human nature. His follow-up book, “I Like You But I Love Me,” was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. His latest book is a provocative and touching memoir, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense,” which explores his upbringing and familial relationships.
In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, which provides opportunities for youth to learn new skills, as well as a support system that fosters personal growth and empowerment. His goal is to inspire today’s urban youth to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Common made his big-screen debut as a musical performer in Dave Chappelle’s “Block Party,” and later co-starred opposite Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck, Alicia Keys and Ryan Reynolds in “Smokin’ Aces.” Since then he has co-starred opposite Denzel Washington in “American Gangster”; “Street Kings,” starring Keanu Reeves and Forest Whitaker; “Wanted,” opposite Angelina Jolie, James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman; and “Terminator Salvation,” starring Christian Bale. He earned his first starring role in the 2010 film “Just Wright,” opposite Queen Latifah.
In addition to his music, film and literary pursuits, Common is the face of designer Diesel men’s fragrance Only the Brave. He also partnered with Microsoft on their clothing line Softwear. He recently launched his Italian hat line SOJI.