Because he is awesome, that is why.
Common is the coolest.
He is what's referred to in the hip hop world as a conscious artist. He embraces themes of love and struggle and sharing his own search for knowledge. Right on! He chooses projects that do more than make him famous, but his fame provides him with a platform to do more. He's also the first rapper to win an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar.
Okay. Back to the book. Common introduces his book with the concept of love as a verb. Every chapter starts with an inspirational quote from famous thinkers, writers and artists like Zora Neale Hurston, Muhammad Ali, James Baldwin, and Joseph Campbell. The chapters focus on different ways to work through love obstacles including showing your kids you love them when they are angry or let down, helping parents age and die, working through pain when friends and loved ones hurt you, and loving humanity when people do awful things to each other. There's a lot to unpack.
In addition to Common's thoughts on life, his own life and thoughts for all of us, his work is backed up by his Hope and Redemption Tours in 2017 and 2018 with Imagine Justice, Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC), and the California Endowment for visiting California state prisons, including Calipatria, Lancaster, Ironwood, the California Institution for Women and San Quentin. How do you express love and show humanity? By showing up. This is the single greatest takeaway for me from this book: one of the most valuable things in life is to be present, to show up. How can anything change if you don't show up? Sometimes that's all you can do.
I read this book over the 4th of July weekend and got a lot out of it, so I'm passing this along to all of you. A playlist of the songs that provided the soundtrack to Common's life while he was writing the book is included at the back of the book. Because of this, I've been listening to a lot of John Coltrane lately, in particular A Love Supreme and I'm pretty happy about it.
Also, have you seen The Hate U Give? If you have, you will recall Uncle Carlos, the police officer. Uncle Carlos is played by Common. If you have not seen this movie, read the book first, then watch the movie. Both are so, so good. Be prepared to cry your eyes out for humanity while feeling hopeful for the future. Then let love have the last word.