Common Surprises Compton Youth Choir With “Glory” Performance

Common has been working to improve lives in black communities for years now, especially in his native Chicago. But, whether it be in a small town or a big city, we’re all connected, which is why his latest outreach led him to Compton, CA.

“Glory,” the song Common collaborated with John Legend on for Selma, has received critical acclaim and is working its way into choirs all over the country, including the youth choir at Greater Zion Church in Compton, CA. In collaboration with President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, Common surprised the youth choir during rehearsal to perform his verse and drop some kind words of wisdom.

Watch: Common and John Legend’s Oscar Acceptance Speech

Common and John Legend’s acceptance speech for the Oscar for Best Original Song invoked the current social justice struggles of today.

“We know that the Voting Rights Act that they fought for 50 years ago is being compromised right now in this country today. We know that right now, the struggle for freedom and justice is real. We live in the most incarcerated country in the world. There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850,” Legend told the audience.

 

Common Discusses His Efforts to Give Back to His Hometown

Rapper/actor/activist, Chicago native, and BYP supporter Common recently wrote an editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times about how he plans to continue to give back to the youth of Chicago.

In a time when the news about Chicago’s youth seems devastatingly bad, it’s nice to know that celebrities are giving back in various ways and that they are using their resources to provide services to youth who need it most.

In his article, Common discussed his goals for his Common Ground Foundation:

Oh Hip Hop Baby Where Did You Go

How has Hip-Hop  lost its course in this world? There is too much of a musical backbone to inspire and work from. Now a days the dumber the song the better the song. The “main stream” industry has trampled our freedom. You constantly hear artist complain of how they can’t make music like they want.  To many, music is the #1 escape from the world, and we all know a cold world.  When do we really get away?  We take the first chance we get to escape, turn on the radio and end up where we started . What’s music if not freedom music?

I always picture the beginning of music starting with four Sacred masters that conducted, instructed, and wrote music among st themselves.  This music was the only thing they had to stay sane. Music became a survival tactic. No instructions, no dotted lines, just the nitty gritty offense against the world. The value of music expression has been terminated and replaced with first class nonsense. Words have lost meanings, break downs have gained souls. The ghost of hip hop can never lay to rest  peacefully.

THINGS FALL APART: What Happened To Hip Hop's Conscience?

Has anyone else been wondering what happened to the socially conscious voice in Hip Hop music?

Yes, I’m aware that there are plenty of emcees out there in the underground with tons of relevant shit to say. But what about the mainstream? There used to be some semblance of balance in Hip Hop. There was a time when a Neo Soul/alternative Hip Hop movement was a visual, popular alternative to the violence, misogyny, and materialism of mainstream Hip Hop. It was a time when that gorgeous and supernaturally gifted actress from Sister Act 2 became the de facto leader of that movement, and the spokeswoman for a generation.

This article is a love letter to that glorious movement, and an explanation as to why it faded away.

Just Wright or Not Quite Right: Queen Latifah Kissed Common, Yuck?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDqL7NMQnbM&feature=related

Do you remember back in 94’ when you were about 13 years old watching Jason’s Lyric for the first time when you probably shouldn’t have been because the movie was rated ‘R,’ and you were suppose to be cleaning your room? Do you remember the feeling of preteen girl giddiness, one hand over one eye, watching the scene where Jason Alexander intimately rubs Jada Pickett’s feet on the banks of the river? Do you remember feeling not quite right about watching the scene because it was sexually graphic—sex on the banks of some Texas’ bayou—and because your momma specifically told you not to watch the movie, but, being a hormonal sexually curious preteen you watched one hand over one eye anyway? Yes, I remember.

And I remember feeling the same way as I watched the movie, Just Wright, starring Queen Latifah, Common, and Paula Patton. Honestly, I felt not quite right watching Queen Latifah and Common make-out on the silver screen. When Common kissed Queen Latifah, I felt as if I was once again a pimply pubescent girl giggling senselessly with one hand over one eye at a sex scene. It was weird and I know for a fact that I was not the only one in the movie theater who cringed, giggled, shifted in seat, placed one hand over one eye when they kissed . . . saying to yourself over and over and over again, “Something about this is not quite right.”

Monday Morning (Mc)Nuggets

So much has happened since the late time I blogged, I figure I’d write a little blurb about everything.

Just Wrong. Common and Queen Latifah are starring in a new movie.  I want to shoot myself.  It looks terrible.  I officially hate them both. So much that I want to pull a C. Delores Tucker and declare war on them.  Does anyone have a spare bulldozer?  I have some CDs to destroy.  Just Wright beats the idea of a Why Did I Get Married trilogy, I guess.  And neither Common nor Queen Latifah have starred in a Tyler Perry flick.  Let me re-think my position.  Wait a minute.  I just remembered Bringing Down the House and Common’s GAP commercials.  Nevermind.