Before his speech at College Park Center, Common thanked God and proceeded to perform a freestyle rap that introduced the topics of truth, purpose, belief and service Tuesday night.

Commencing the spring 2020 half of the Maverick Speakers Series, Common gave examples from his experience as a father, son, artist and activist to highlight periods in his life when personal truth and mindfulness played an important role.

Common has starred in films such as the animated movie Smallfoot and the critically acclaimed film The Hate U Give. He has also appeared in other films such as Selma, Barbershop and John Wick: Chapter 2.

As a hip-hop artist and actor, Common is one Tony Award away from achieving an EGOT, a designation given to individuals who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.

During his presentation, Common stressed service to others and self-love as essential when operating in life's purpose.

“As much as I’m being an activist, I gotta be a self-activist too,” he said.

Common said one of the strongest blessings is to have a belief.

“We possess the ability to believe in ourselves,” he said. “To believe in ourselves and it not be offensive to others.”

Common said belief can be a strong foundation when you find yourself in a position you don’t want to be in.

“I’m not here to declare that God should be for you, but know there is a higher power,” he said.

Even though Common is known as an artist, actor and activist, psychology senior Michaelya Outland said Common as a person of color is what stands out to her most.

“He gives the black community such strong beliefs,” she said. “We know there is someone rooting for us as a community.”

Link Kabadyundi, former UTA Men’s Basketball center, caught a flight from Atlanta, Georgia, when he found out Common was speaking at his alma mater.

“I really liked the messages from his music and just knowing that he was coming to my school. I was like, ‘I can’t miss this, I have to be there,’” he said.

Kabadyundi said Common’s use of spirituality added clarity to the message of his presentation.

“I’m really big on purpose, and he just spoke about purpose all throughout his speech,” he said. “I was like, ‘Wow. He was just speaking to me.’”


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