Common is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, film producer, poet and activist from Chicago, Illinois. He’s renowned for his roles in films such as Selma, Barbershop and John Wick 2; his lasting influence on hip-hop culture, and his recurring role in the Showtime series he and Lena Waithe executive produce, The Chi. He starred in a number of films in 2018 including the animated Warner Bros’ Smallfoot and the critically acclaimed Fox film The Hate U Give. Up next he will be seen in the action film The Informer; The Kitchen with Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish and Elizabeth Moss; and Eve opposite Jessica Chastain.
Born as Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., he was raised in Chicago by his mother, a teacher, and stepfather. His debut 1992 album Can I Borrow a Dollar? garnered him a significant underground following into the late 1990s, after which he gained notable mainstream success through his work with the Soulquarians. In 2011, Common launched Think Common Entertainment, his own record label imprint, and has released music under various other labels such as Relativity, Geffen and GOOD Music, among others.
Common was nominated for an Oscar, a Grammy and NAACP Image Award for his song Stand Up For Something, which he co-wrote with Diane Warren. Throughout his career, he has been nominated 16 times for the Grammys, winning three as well as an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his work in Selma. Common won the 2015 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and the 2015 Academy Award for Best Original Song, for his song Glory from the 2014 film Selma, in which he co-starred as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel.
Common’s acting career also includes starring significant roles in the films Smokin’ Aces, Street Kings, American Gangster, Wanted, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, Just Wright, Happy Feet Two, New Year’s Eve and Run All Night. He starred as Elam Ferguson on the AMC western television series Hell on Wheels and has appeared in several episodes of Showtime’s hit drama The Chi, produced by his company Freedom Road Productions with his longtime manager Derek Dudley.
Common will soon debut the follow-up to his New York Times bestselling memoir One Day It’ll All Make Sense with Let Love Have The Last Word. Courageous, insightful, brave, and characteristically authentic, Let Love Have the Last Word shares Common’s own unique and personal stories of the people and experiences that have led to a greater understanding of love and all it has to offer. It is a powerful call to action for a new generation of open hearts and minds, one that is sure to resonate for years to come.
He is the creator of Common Ground Foundation, a non-profit that seeks to empower underprivileged youth to be strong citizens of the world. Common joined musician Andra Day in performing Stand Up For Something at the March For Our Lives anti-gun violence rally in Washington, D.C. He is also a part of the Recording Academy’s newly formed Diversity Task Force led by former First Lady Michelle Obama’s chief of staff Tina Tchen, created in the wake of complaints about a lack of female award winners at the 2018 Grammys.