Closing Keynote Speaker


Closing Keynote Speaker


Oscar and Grammy Award-Winning Artist, Author & King of Conscious Hip-Hop

The “King of Conscious Hip Hop,” Common is one of music’s most poetic and respected lyricists. Over the course of nine albums, his introspective rhymes have pushed boundaries with their incisive social commentary. From Can I Borrow a Dollar? to BE and Finding Forever, his Grammy-nominated collaborations with Kanye West, Common has spent 16 years in the notoriously fickle world of hip hop by taking risks and staying one step ahead of the game.

Common has also branched out into acting, portraying freed slave Elam Ferguson in AMC’s historical drama series Hell on Wheels. He also appears in several movies, including Smokin’ Aces, Wanted, Terminator Salvation, Date Night, and Just Wright.

Common isn’t just a musician and actor—he is a role model. In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, an organization dedicated to the empowerment and development of America’s urban youth. Offering the younger generations a better understanding of self-respect and love, he has combined hip hop with literature, releasing three children’s books: The MIRROR and ME, I Like You But I Love Me, and M.E. (Mixed Emotions). His first book for adults is the provocative and touching memoir, One Day It’ll All Make Sense. In 2015, Common received an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song with John Legend for their powerful collaboration, “Glory,” featured in the civil rights film, Selma.

Whether inspiring audiences through his music, his books, or his foundation, Common continues to break new ground, and remains one of hip hop’s most innovative, positive voices.

All session by Common

Final Keynote Address: Common the Rapper

06:30PM - 08:00PM
Edwards Auditorium