Common preaches self-empowerment in sold-out lecture

Musician, actor and author Common, the “King of Conscious Hip-Hop,” gives a distinguished lecture Feb. 10 in a sold-out Reynolds Performance Hall.


Lonnie Rashid Lynn, more prominently known as the hip-hop artist Common, sauntered between velvet red curtains to the podium before a sold-out Reynolds Performance Hall on Feb. 10 with a cup of warm tea and a notebook.

He began with a free-style rap dedicated to his UCA audience, referencing Donaghey Avenue, Bear Hall and Bear’s Den Pizza. His 40-minute lecture addressed achieving greatness through self-empowerment in three stages: finding your path, believing in your path and living it.

Common said it wasn’t until 2002 that he realized he did not whole-heartedly believe in himself, despite all of the success he had achieved at that point in his life.

“I was afraid to wear my greatness,” he said. “I would dim my light for other people or not be able to stay who I am or stand up proud and just feel the things God had given me to express to the world.”

The idea of self-empowerment through following one’s path carried throughout his lecture.

“I’m here to say that greatness is in you, and you will achieve that greatness as you find your path, believe in your path and live it,” he told the crowd at the end of the night.

Common spoke with The Echo and Channel6 before his lecture about activism, his upcoming lecture and staring in the Oscar-nominated film, Selma

He said he hopes Selma will pave a way for young activists going forward in modern social movements surrounding race, uneven access to wealth, education and opportunity.

“I think [Selma] gives the new generation a great blueprint to see how you can be effective through non-violent protest,” Common said. “I think it will inspire a younger generation to see themselves in what’s going on now and realize that they are the ones that are gonna be the change-makers.”

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