Rapper Common Makes Surprise Visit to Chicago High School

Common praising Dunbar Academy students for their good grades and attendance. Photo Courtesy: @ChiPubSchools Twitter

Common praising Dunbar Academy students for their good grades and attendance.
Photo Courtesy: @ChiPubSchools Twitter

In between doing press for new movie “Run All Night” and organizing a fundraiser for his Common Ground Foundation–which he and new musical sidekick John Legend performed for—Common squeezed in a mentoring session.

Last week he spoke to honor roll students at Dunbar Vocational Career Academy in the South Side of Chicago. The rapper congratulated them on their excellent grades and I’m sure they tossed praise his way for his recent Oscar and Grammy wins. Even if he didn’t bring the trophies for a show-and-tell. Tsk Tsk what a wasted opportunity that could be used to illustrate what the kids possibilities look like. And have them hold it in their hands so they know it’s real.

Oh well.

Instead he chatted with the teens about his past and the value of education.

All issues he covers in his Common Ground Foundation that emphasis’ leadership, money management and artistic expression. Skills that are sharpened the most during high school years.

A few days after the classroom visit, Common held his “Evening of Glory” fundraiser. And posted highlights on the org’s YouTube page.

Rapper Common Throws Benefit Concert in Chi-Town Amid Gun Violence

Common thinking about his benefit speech today.photo credit: Facebook

Common thinking about his benefit speech today.photo credit: Facebook

As I write this Common is hosting a benefit concert in his hometown of Chi-Town. The concert held at the House of Blues will raise money for his Common Ground Foundation that aims to inspire Chicago teens (ages 13-15) to be more involved in the arts. The Foundation rolled out a one-week summer camp this past August. And following up its commitment with a three year mentor program that encourages kids to finish high school.

Common’s comeback to Chi-town was brought on my city’s rash in violence, which continues to threaten its residents and change its moniker to Chi raq. Before Common even touched down on his old stomping ground, hours before 13 were wounded from gun fire, including a 3-year-old boy on a South Side Playground. Common told The Huffington Post its the community’s responsibility to change it around.

It’s our responsibility for the village to say, ‘Hey we’re going to create these programs,’ whether it’s sports, creative arts, music, we need some things to give young people positive things to do, and that’s including jobs.”

Based on the tweet below, it looks like Luda will be coming through.

If you want to check out the show click here.

Prayers to all the families that were wounded last night. Thankfully, no one was killed.

Let’s keep the peace, ya’ll.

 

Big Sean Hands Out School Supplies in Hometown & Which Celebs Helped Homeless Student Attend Howard University

Big Sean Handing out Supplies. Credit: Huffington Post

Big Sean Handing out Supplies. Credit: Huffington Post

Rapper Big Sean took time out from promoting his new album, “Hall of Fame” and dropped in on a back-to-school fair held in his native Detroit. The Kanye West protege handed out backpacks filled with school supplies donated by Office Max. The fair included educational games, career guidance and much needed school supplies for public school kids–an ever-present need this school year–and some love from one of the hottest rappers in the game.

“The Huffington Post” reported Big Sean offered hugs, handshakes and encouraging words along with those pencils and notebooks to families there.

“My message [to kids] is just to stay focused on what your goals are and do as well as you can. And focus on what you’re great at and harness that talent,” he said. “There are so many opportunities out here … I hope these kids, these young minds, take advantage of that and make it happen. They can be way better than a rapper, they can be way more successful.”

A product of the Detroit public school system, the rapper says he had an urge to give back, and he’s attempting to with his new venture: Sean Anderson Foundation. The foundation promotes “education, health and well-being” of Detroit youth. So, it’s not a stretch that the back-to-school fair would be the foundation’s first project.

tumblr

tumblr

After hearing this inspirational tale on “NBC Nightly News” this past month, I couldn’t pass up a mention. James Ward went from living in a shelter overlooking LA’s skid row with his mom and two siblings to entering the Black man’s Harvard aka Howard University as an incoming freshman, and who paid the tab? YOU. That’s right, all those kind generous souls who went on James’ Homeless to Howard fundraising site, which rapper Common was so kind to share with his Twitter followers and contribute to the cause ( smart and  generous *swoon*) is what landed the 19-year-old first-in-his-family-to-attend college on a higher learning plateau.

tumblr_mra2fyKyyq1seycddo1_1280

 

Brainchild to ABC’s Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy Shonda Rhimes also showed James some love for his cause.

tumblr_mrjqcbh3IY1seycddo1_1280

How do you thank complete strangers for paying for two years of schooling? (FYI…one year at Howard cost over $32 Gs.) The above photo is great start. But James’ plan is little bigger. He is launching a non profit to help other young kids get a fair shake at a quality education. What a great way to pay it forward.

Good luck James!!!