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Common speaks on self-love and personal truths at the Distinguished Lecture Series

Common speaks on self-love and personal truths at the Distinguished Lecture Series

Common speaks on self-love and personal truths at the Distinguished Lecture Series
October 24
12:13 2019

“This journey that we are all on can be done from wherever we sit or stand,” Common said. “I’m here standing side-by-side with you guys, shoulder-to-shoulder with my community. I’m not trying to speak from some high place. I’m right with you, learning and growing and realizing my truth.”

The artist, actor and activist stopped by UNT for the Distinguished Lecture Series on Wednesday at the Coliseum. He shared some of his own personal truths, with the release of his latest memoir, “Let Love Have the Last Word,” in May and his latest album, “Let Love,” in August of this year.

The hip hop emcee opened the lecture by spitting a freestyle mentioning popular UNT spots Fry Street and Willis Library as well as former UNT football player “Mean” Joe Greene.

He went on to speak about self-reflection, authenticity, getting closer to God, living in your purpose, therapy, the importance of believing in yourself and being a servant to your community.

“When we achieve our purpose, when we get to those processes of belief and we use our mindfulness and meditation to elevate our lives, and we reach the goals, it’s our duty, it’s our way, it’s what we must do,” Common said. “We must give back. We must serve.”

“You don’t have to have a college degree to serve – though we want y’all to get your college degree – you don’t have to know about Plato or Aristotle to serve, you don’t have to know Einstein’s relativity theory to serve, you don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics and physics to serve,” Common said. “You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love and you can be that servant.”

Common said all it takes is one small step in order to serve.

“You don’t have to be Dr. King or Oprah Winfrey or Diane Nash,” Common said. “The beauty of serving others is that you don’t have to be the richest person or a pop star or a great actor. You don’t have to have the most Twitter followers. But if you are the richest person, the richest person is using their power and position and really functioning with the true ethics and integrity.”

With Common’s versatility as an artist, activist and actor, Student Government Association president Yolian Ogbu said she hoped that students recognize that the things they do don’t have to be narrow-minded and siloed from his lecture.

“You can be open to doing as much as possible and there are little differences that you can make that could turn into big impacts,” Ogbu said.

Interdisciplinary studies junior Victoria Bates said one take away from the event is focusing on oneself and being positive.

“That’s something that I normally do,” Bates said. “But it’s really instilled in you when you see people speak it from their heart and through their experience, especially somebody who’s wiser and older than you.”

Q & A with Common

You speak a lot about the need for compassion among our fellow man in this country. Talk to me about the necessity for compassion in the current state of politics.

I think it denotes for us to be like “OK politicians are doing certain things” – and not all politicians are bad, some politicians want to do things, but a lot of people in leadership right now are not trying to do well for us. So how do we do well for us?

We identify politicians that will support [us]. It takes that work and research. When I look at how many people are running, I’m like “OK I got to figure out who I really want to vote for.” And outside of politics, I feel like we are greater than the government – meaning the people of the country.

No matter what a politician is doing, the way I look at you and treat you and respect you is on me. That’s my responsibility. That’s a part of my daily activity. In that way, and the way we treat each other in compassionate ways. I feel like we all have that responsibility, and that has nothing to do with politics.

In your memoir, “Let Love Have the Last Word,” you uncovered and spoke many truths about yourself. What’s the importance of speaking your truth in terms of personal growth?

For me, telling my truths was very therapeutic and healing, and I really feel like I’m getting to be myself even more. I always felt like “Man I’m an open person, I’m free.”

The more you dig into certain things that you didn’t know about yourself and reveal certain things about yourself and just say “Hey this is who I am,” it really is empowering.

It emboldens you to be yourself and feel more confident… I also feel like, within telling these stories about what I experienced, you know whether it’s something that didn’t go right, something that’s really traumatic, all of it, I feel like I’m also giving other people permission to tell their stories.

Featured Image: Award winning artist, Common addresses the audience during his talk for UNT’s Distinguished Lecture Series Oct. 23, 2019. Common spoke on his extensive career and finding purpose. Image by Zachary Thomas

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Brielle Thomas

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