” You have a Creator that loves you; a Creator that will always provide for you. Keep your eyes on the prize and your faith high.”
These are the words of wisdom that stuck with me the most from Common’s address to American University last night. I was lucky enough to photograph the event as press. I’ve photographed many “cool” people and celebrities before ( go to shotbyencore.com ) but never have I ever photographed someone this wholesome. Yes, wholesome is the perfect word to describe Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known to the word as rapper, filmmaker, actor, and philanthropist Common. His energy is nearly contagious, its rare that you get to meet someone as genuine and as compassionate as him, someone that is comfortable in living their truth, acknowledging where they have fell short, constantly humbled by the presence of God and keeps a level head in the times of challenge. In speaking with him, I saw the goodness in his heart, he smiled with such authenticity and I couldn’t that I was standing their talking to one of my biggest artistic inspirations, I was talking to hip-hop history and culture; he was standing there right in front of me.
Last night, his speech also touched on having faith in your higher power and your purpose and what exactly that means to each and everyone of us. He spoke about passion, love, dignity and not falling to despair and violence in a time where it may seem likes thats the only thing surrounding us. He talked about his trials and tribulations what it meant for him to leave college after two years, be a black man in America and do something that everyone wanted to do….rap. The thing I understand about Common from being such a fan of his art (music and film wise) he’s not just a rapper, he’s a poet. He does everything poetically; with such passion, honesty, grace, and determination. It comes out even in his grittiest lyrics, his best love songs, the most complex characters he plays on screen. Wherever life takes me, I hope to do whatever I’m doing with passion, faith, authenticity, and grace; I hope to do it with COMMONsense.