A not-so-Common lecture to take place

By: Deborah Souverain/Staff Writer

As a rapper and an actor Common is a man of multiple hats. When he visits the University this week he’ll put on a new one.

Two-time Grammy award winning hip-hop artist Common is scheduled to discuss “The Effects of Hip-Hop on American Society” on Feb. 9, 2011 on the Biscayne Bay Campus, as part of the ongoing Lecture Series coordinated by the Biscayne Bay Campus’ Student Government Council.

The discussion on hip-hop and its effect on American society will he held in the Wolfe University Center Ballrooms, on Wednesday, Feb. 9. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The event is free for students, faculty, staff and Alumni Association members, but seats are limited. It is encouraged tickets are picked up prior to the event.  As of Feb. 1, over 300 tickets were given out at BBC and only three tickets remained at MMC. For non-FIU members, tickets are being sold for $5 pre-sale and $10 at the door.

As one of the more popular faces of the dwindling, less mainstream, sector of hip-hop referred to as “conscious rap,” Common rose from his roots in underground hip-hop to becoming one of the most famed artists in hip-hop.

Common has recorded eight studio albums and is currently working on a ninth album with Kanye West, set to come out later this year. He has starred in a number of films such as “Smokin’ Aces,” “American Gangster “and “Date Night,“ to name a few. Common has also written several children’s books.

In 2007 Common embarked on a philanthropic endeavor to enrich the lives of underprivileged urban youth in the U.S. and launched the Common Ground Foundation, Inc., a Chicago based global initiative focused on empowering urban youth and fostering the desire for knowledge.

Common’s music is heavily saturated with socially conscious material that often sheds light on issues that plague the youth in today’s society. As an acclaimed pioneer of hip-hop, common has seen it all from the “Golden age” of hip-hop to the rise of gangsta-rap.

“We have a smaller budget than [the Modesto Maidique Campus] and it was hard to bring [Common] because he is recording an album with Kanye West, but I think we did a good job,” said Director of Lectures Emilio Collyer Jr.

The lecture series serves as a platform for professionals to discuss issues of pertinence to society. During the Spring 2011 semester the series has featured author, journalist and editor Dan Savage who discussed the “It Gets Better” YouTube project, a program where Savage asks individuals to upload videos about positive experiences in the LGBT community, in hopes of easing tensions between gay-straight relations and reducing the rate of gay teen suicides. The series will also feature Fabien Cousteau, an aquatic filmmaker and oceanographic explorer.

“Common is a very popular artist and we’re seeing a bigger demand for his presence. We are already getting a lot of phone calls about the event,” said Angelena Adams, the Student Government Council at BBC elections commissioner.

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