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Common talks music and movies

Friday, December 16, 2016 - 02:50

The U.S. rapper has teamed up with director Ava DuVernay again for her documentary ''13TH.'' Rough cut (no reporter narration)

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Over the course of roughly 26 years Common has redefined what it means to be a rapper. The Chicago native has won an Academy Award, released books, acted on both the small and big screen and is considered one of the African American community's strongest activist. However, the 44-year old said he still wants to achieve more. "While the goal is to continue to grow. The goal is to continue to be a light and activate others light. And also continue to love what I do by being as creative as possible and being present with the things that I want to see shifted. I see things in the world that I can help out, those are some of the goals," said Common. After earning a best original song Oscar for "Glory," for Ava DuVernay's film "Selma," the pair have teamed up again for her documentary, "13TH." "I had written the first verse and then I watched the film and then I continued to work on the second verse. And she and I went back and forth as far as some of the ideas and what we wanted to hear in the second verse," Common added. The film argues that although slavery was officially abolished in the United States 150 years ago, that it is still alive in the form of mass incarceration that disproportionately affects black people. Using TV footage, music, and interviews with academics, politicians and former prisoners, director DuVernay portrays African-Americans as remaining enslaved, dating back to lynchings, the battle for civil rights, imprisonment for drug offenses, stop and frisk laws and the current spate of police killings of unarmed black civilians. In November, Common released his eleventh album, "Black America Again," which he hopes will spark a retelling of the black American experience and a past that includes lynchings, discrimination and other injustices. "These things happened repeatedly since slavery, up to now, dealing with mass incarnation or if it's the way that black life has been devalued. But there are also some other things that have happened. And also some things that we can right the wrongs by today doing better things to each other. That includes white people and Asian people and Latino people and Native Americans. Just us treating each other better. So the black American story, 'Black America Again' is really showing that humanity and inviting everybody to be a part of that humanity," Common said. Although the album is filled with music that will make you think, tracks like "Love Star" and "Uncommon" show the artist's softer side. "My mother just called me and said, I was listening to the album and I was like, wow, got all this conscious music and a lot of thoughtful music, but you got the love songs too. And I just feel great to be able to do that because I think it's all a part of it. Some of the artist I look up to, Bob Marley and Marvin Gaye, they were able to make revolutionary songs, 'What's Going On.' But then they still got 'No Woman, No Cry,' 'Sexual Healing,'" Common added. "13TH" is currently playing on Netflix. "Black American Again" debuted at number 25 on the Billboard 200 charts.

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Common talks music and movies

Friday, December 16, 2016 - 02:50