Denver, February 5th – Actor, activist, rapper, author, ex- Chicago Bulls ball-boy, and motivational speaker? Chi-town native Lonnie Lynn Jr., better known as Common visited the tri-institute campus of Metropolitan State University in Denver to give a speech of motivation, of black history month pride and even of personal accounts (Denver could use a motivational speech after the Superbowl. Peyton Manning was not in attendance, however).
Upon first walking out onto the stage he spit a freestyle, reminding us that he was in fact a rapper by trade before awing the crowd with a speech that would seem like he was not a rapper but in fact a scholar with a public speaking major. The duration of the freestyle was about 2 minutes, in which he mentioned the Broncos, Denver’s negative degree weather, and local streets like Colfax that runs through the heart of downtown. By doing so and making the crowd feel unique he showed authenticity. After blessing the on lookers with one of Common’s Common flows, he began his speech. Everything from religion to feeling Emmitt Till’s spirit, and from being the Chicago Bull’s ball-boy as a youth to being in the presence of Kanye standing on a couch rapping getting hype to his own College Dropout lyrics was told. He linked all these stories as well as personal accounts with his break-up with Erykah Badu and his Grammy nominations all to one common theme. “Motivation.” “Find it. Believe it. Live it.” “It” being your path. “Obstacles to possibles.” The speech was phenomenal to say the least.
He spoke about losing his appetite during the Badu break-up, but concluding upon finding himself through the misery. He spoke about frantically running in the dark halls underneath the Bulls stadium from the away locker room back to the home locker room in fear influenced by the story of Emmitt Till, and feeling the spirit of Emmitt himself amongst him. He spoke on walking into a Grammy after party accompanied by Kanye and John Legend, who both had at least one Grammy (Kanye having multiple). Common didn’t have a Grammy, but he did have his, “precious mother” with him. He even paid homage to Richard Sherman, the loud-mouth infamous Seattle Seahawk, for, “claiming his.” Even in Denver, he got applause for that comment.
When an audience member sneezed, Common would say, “Bless you.” And when a little girl in a purple dress ran up the main aisle away from her mother, Common paused to say hello to the, “little pretty girl”. After leaving, one could feel like they really knew Common as a person. But even further, one could feel motivated.
Common is more than a rapper, more than an actor, and even more than a motivational speaker. He’s a presence. If you get the chance to see Common speak at your college campus or wherever he may be, “Go”.