Common is an American hip hop recording artist, actor, film producer and poet from Chicago, Illinois. He’s renowned for his roles in films such as “Selma,” “Barbershop” and “Suicide Squad”; his lasting influence on hip-hop culture, and his recurring role in the Showtime series he and Lena Waithe executive produce, “The Chi.” He is staring in a number of films in 2018 including Warner Bros’ “Smallfoot” and the highly-anticipated Fox film “The Hate U Give.”
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.
Earlier this year, Common was nominated for an Oscar, a Grammy and Critics’ Choice Award for his song “Stand Up For Something,” which he co-wrote with Diane Warren. Throughout his career, he has been nominated 20 times for the Grammys, winning three as well as an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor. 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 also narrated the award-winning documentary “Bouncing Cats”, about one man’s efforts to improve the lives of children in Uganda through hip-hop/b-boy culture. 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.
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.