He was recently seen on the big screen in the Oscar-nominated film, Selma, a film centered around the civil rights marches that changed America. He won a 2015 Academy Award, alongside John Legend, for “Best Original Song In A Motion Picture” for ‘Glory’ from the motion picture Selma. In addition, ‘Glory’ won a 2015 Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Song In A Motion Picture,” a Critics Choice Award for “Best Song” and Grammy Award for “Song Written for Visual Media.” Common was also recognized for his acting in Selma, where he was honored with an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture. In 2017, Common’s “Letter to the Free” won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics.
Common has appeared on the small screen for 4 seasons of the acclaimed AMC TV series, Hell on Wheels. Common played the role of ‘Elam,’ a freed slave who comes west in post-Civil War America seeking work on the Transcontinental Railroad. His numerous accomplishments in film include starring on the silver screen in Smokin Aces, American Gangster, Wanted, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, Just Wright, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, Luv and Now You See Me.
Prior to acting, Common rose to prominence as one of hip hop’s most poetic and respected lyricists. He has recorded 10 studio albums and garnered multiple Grammy Awards. His most recent album, Nobody’s Smiling, debuted #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip Hop Chart. Nobody’s Smiling was nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for Best Rap Album, as well as Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for his song ‘Blak Majik’ featuring Jhené Aiko.
In 2004, he partnered with Chicago native and rap music mega-star Kanye West to produce the album Be, which went on to garner four Grammy Award nominations. In 2007 Common released his critically acclaimed seventh album Finding Forever where it debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart and it went on to earn a Grammy award. His eighth album, Universal Mind Control, was released in 2008 and was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Rap Album. Common’s highly anticipated ninth album, The Believer, The Dreamer, was released to critical acclaim by Warner Bros. Records on December 20th, 2011. On September 18th, 2012 Common joined forces with the rest of the G.O.O.D. Music crew to release the highly anticipated Cruel Summer album. Additional artists on the album include Kanye West, John Legend, Pusha T, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, and Kid Cudi.
Common recently added to this list of accomplished written works with his revealing memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense, which made the prestigious New York Times bestseller list upon release. Every aspect of his life’s journey was unveiled in this deeply personal account of who Common is and the people, faith and events that have shaped and molded him into the award-winning, critically acclaimed conscious artist of today.
Common is a regularly requested guest speaker known to motivate and empower collegiate minds while speaking at prestigious universities across the country. In 2000, he launched his own philanthropic effort, The Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring in three areas: character development, creative expression and healthy living.
Whether inspiring audiences through music, movies, television, books or his foundation, Common continues to break new ground, and remains to be one of hip-hop’s most innovative, positive voices.
"Everything was great! He was so gracious and his speech was an inspiration to all, especially the younger audience."- National Campaign to Stop Violence
"I hate to use this word... but the event was pretty much perfect. Common couldn't have been easier to work with. He was super nice and down-to-earth."- SUNY Albany
"Fantastic event. And the easiest talent I've ever had the pleasure to work with. He was great."- Loyola Marymount University