By Ibrahim Dabo (@IbDabo)
American hip-hop artist and actor Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr, fondly known as Common, now a New York Times best-seller for his autobiography “One Day, It’ll All Make Sense,” talked exclusively about his book and how his story can be of inspiration to people of all ages, especially young people.
Common, along with his mother and educator, Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines, spoke at a special question and answer session at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. in September.
They both shared positive examples of their past in an effort to motivate young kids and their parents, and also for them to embrace the value of education and how it can make a difference in their lives.
Talking about the purpose of writing his book Common said: “My purpose is definitely beyond just making music and acting and doing art. Through art I want to uplift, but also through literature I know I can uplift.”
Common said he felt if he could share some of his experiences and stories, they will hopefully inspire somebody and also allow us to be honest with ourselves because “part of this book was just me being able to be honest with myself.”
Some of these experiences he highlighted include dealing with the fears he had, doubts and heartbreaks, his relationship with God, Chicago, and his mother.
Notably, during this session, Common shared how his strong bond with his mother greatly helped shape his upbringing, part of which translates to the success the star enjoys today.
Common’s Relationship With His Mom
One of the most important things you can get in life, Common said, is love and one of the first things he knew from his mother was love.
This he described as, “love that came in a pure way, a disciplinary way, and one that came just from a mother loving her son.”
He said spending the first seven-and-half years of his life with his Mom meant a lot and the love she showed him came strong and it taught him to love in a special way.
“It taught me to love myself and gave me a great foundation,” Common said.
“Along with that, I got to see my mother as an educator, as a teacher who went beyond just being a teacher. She tried to help students on an extra level and she helped my friends who did not have mothers, who had lost their mothers or whose mothers had been on drugs.”
Part of the “great foundation” Common got from his Mom was taking him to church. The rapper recalled how his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, helped shape the mind of a young black man who needed to know that he should be unapologetic and unashamed to be Christian.
“That was a beautiful thing for me to understand and my mother set that foundation for me,” Common said.
Common said his favorite books are The Autobiography of Malcolm X and the Holy Bible.
“I read the Bible and I start understanding that the more I experience life, I apply it [the Bible] to everyday life and not just see it as stories that happened back then or just some words,” he said.
“I start saying this is the Living Word, we’ve got to live it and interpret it,” Common said, adding that he’s doing his best to understand it at a high level.
Most Challenging Chapter Of His Book
Common said one of the most difficult chapters to write in his book deals with his relationship with Erykah Badu because he had to be open and share all his experiences from that relationship.
“I think she’s a strong and incredibly beautiful woman but I told my perspective of how that relationship affected me because it taught me a lot about myself,” Common said, adding that his relationship with Badu and their breaking-up reminded him of how he was willing to give his life for somebody else, a move he is now cautious of.
“You really can’t do that with anything or situation,” Common said. “I don’t care who you’re around.”
“You can be around somebody that you admire the most but it’s not necessary for you to give your life for them in a relationship, with family members or whatever. God gave you your life and you let that life shine on the world, and that’s what I learned from that relationship,” he said.
Common said it’s worth sharing this experience because “I knew that lesson will be powerful for somebody else.”
The Grammy award-winning artist also talked about growing up as a young boy, when he would return home from school, play basketball, rap, and spend some time studying and doing homework.
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