In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, The Source Magazine continues to share and provide enlightenment, empowerment, fairness and decency in the work and content we produce and distribute under our name, knowing the powerful impact of media especially, on our youth. With that being said, it is a must that we highlight artists within our culture that understand and do the same. This year, we felt it ‘Just Wright’ to present our MLK Acknowledgement award to none other than Common.

Watch Common’s Acceptance Speech For His Golden Globes Award

Whether it be the complete embodiment of the culture he displays in each venture pursued, or the content of each of his classic albums, Common has stuck by these words: “You not gon’ respect self, at least respect the heritage/Affecting lives is where the wealth and the merit is/I realize what I portray day to day, I gotta carry this.”

Watch The Official Music Video For Common & John Legend’s Oscar Nominated “Glory”

It shows. Common utilizes his abilities a la your favorite super hero. For example, his lyrical ability to shed light on the situation in Fegurson and Selma, or even “A Song for Assata”issues that often fall on deaf ears–provides more awareness and knowledge on each subject.

Check Out The Full Winners List From The Critics Choice Movie Awards

Outside of music, Common’s appeared in advertisements for PETA’s Think Before You Eat campaign. He is also part of the “Knowing Is Beautiful” movement which supports HIV/AIDS awareness. The list of charities and foundations Common has supported includes: Aid Still RequiredArtists for Peace and JusticeBelieve in DreamsEntertainment Industry FoundationGet Schooled FoundationHear The WorldKeep A Child AlivePETA(RED)Red CrossSave The Music FoundationStand Up To Cancer, and UNICEF.

Film Review: Ava DuVernay’s ‘Selma’ Starring David Oyelowo

Just this past year Common and fellow Chi-town emcee Rhymefest teamed with Urban League to create jobs for youths in Chicago. Part of which was shown in September’s AAHH! Fest.

Common has even founded his own charity named the “Common Ground Foundation.” According to Looking To The Stars:

The Common Ground Foundation is dedicated to the empowerment and development of urban youth in the United States.

The Common Ground Foundation was created by Hip Hop artist, actor and children’s author Common. Common’s social-conscience message serves as inspiration for equality, opportunity and hope among youth in underserved communities. The Foundation is committed to empowering youth in urban neighborhoods and providing life skills needed to achieve their dreams.

Included in the list of celebrity supporters are: Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Serena Williams, Queen Latifah, Talib Kweli, The Roots, Yasiin Bey, Kanye West, Ludacris, and Alyssa Milano.

Jamaal Fisher (@jamaalfisher)

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