Common has joined the likes of Jay-Z, Meek Mill and French Montana in spreading awareness to help reform the criminal justice system. The Hip Hop pioneer has partnered with Global Citizen to become an official ambassador with a specific focus in decriminalizing poverty.
Common told Billboard, “I want to bring a practical change in people’s lives. I want to walk down Atlantic Avenue and see someone’s life change because of Global Citizen and the work I’m doing. I want to help the people who are oppressed because of their skin, beliefs, and economics. I’m always in a fight for that.”
Global Citizen and Common have a relationship that dates back to 2015 when the rapper/actor performed at their Earth Day festival in Washington D.C. with #Usher. The company was more than happy to have Common come aboard.
Global Citizen co-founder Hugh Evans said, “Common has long been a passionate advocate fighting against injustice through art and philanthropy. We are thrilled to be working together to reach our goal of ending extreme poverty by breaking down the criminalization of poverty that exists in overlooked and under-supported communities both in the U.S. and across the globe.”
⠀Common has his own nonprofit, Imagine Justice, and with working with Global Citizen, his goal is to transform the bail system in New York. According to Billboard, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo made a promise on the Global Citizen stage to put an end to cash bail but has since reneged. Despite the fact, New York did make progress in bail reform by eliminating it for some misdemeanor charges and non-violent offenders.
Imagine Justice has already begun to make an impact in California, where two bills were passed [SB-394 & SB-395] that stopped juveniles from being sentenced to life without parole.
Common also acts and serves as executive producer on Showtime’s ‘The Chi,’ a show he believes can “shift the paradigm” through “art, storytelling, music, film, and television.” But he asserts, “You have to do it in the fresh way, meaning the stories have to be good and engage people to make them connect with these characters.”
Congratulations to Chi-Town’s hero, Common!