Common inspired the Texas State community to find and share their own truths by referencing his journey of living life through movie roles, song lyrics, memoirs and community activism.
As Distinguished Lecturer for the 2019-2020 Common Experience, Common spoke on this year’s theme of “truth.” With an estimated 6,000 individuals in attendance, the 2019 distinguished lecturer event had the largest turnout in Texas State history, according to Director of the Common Experience Twister Marquiss.
At the beginning of his speech, Common challenged the audience with a question: “How can you get to your truth?”
Common described the difference between eulogy and resume virtues. Eulogy virtues are skills one would bring to the workforce, while resume virtues consist of values of bravery, kindness and the capability to love others on a deep level.
“Our culture and our educational system spend more time teaching us the skills and strategies you’ll need for career success than the qualities you’ll need to radiate your inner light,” Common said.
Common said for people to find their own personal truth, they must first find their true purpose in life.
“I want to encourage each and every one of you, whatever your major may be, to think about the things you love to do,” Common said. “I want you to think about the things you wake up wanting to participate in. That may be part of your purpose.”
In talking about pursuing what someone is passionate about, Common refers to Kahlil Gibran’s book, “The Prophet,” quoting, “work is love made visible.”
“Every day I get up here and get a chance to rap, to act, to speak to you all—this is an act of love,” Common said. “This is something I’m purposed to do, that I love to do. I would do it for no amount of money. I’m just grateful to be doing it.”
After finding someone’s purpose, Common said people must fully embrace and believe in that passion and what makes them happy. This is the second step in finding one’s truth, according to Common.
“You should never dim your light for anyone,” Common said. “Your light, as well as your purpose, is yours and it was created by the Creator for you to shine it on the planet. We can’t be afraid of our greatness.”
While commenting on the importance of mindfulness, Common said how imperative it is to prioritize self-love to establish belief in one’s purpose.
“As much work as I’ve been doing as an activist, I hadn’t been doing self-activism work,” Common said. “Work on self is some of the hardest work that you will ever do in your life.”
Common said failure is part of the journey and the process of living life and finding one’s purpose.
“When you truly believe in things, you also understand that they may not come at that time,” Common said. “You have a bigger picture ahead of you.”
Common said the third step to finding truth is aligning one’s passion with the right intention to authentically live out his or her purpose.
“What am I truly living for, my purpose, and am I living that every day,” Common said. “I started to put my intention more on being an activist and living up to that title,” Common said.
Common said it is important to share a sense of self-love with others to make the world a kinder place.
“Sometimes (sharing) the smallest gestures of love is what we can to do to start changing the world,” Common said. “That is going to start first by finding your purpose and that self-love and believing in that, and then working to apply that.”
Erika Nielson, assistant director of the Common Experience, said they selected Common as this year’s distinguished lecturer due to his ability to tell his own “truth.”
“(We selected Common) because he can speak very personally about his own personal truth through multiple avenues of song, spoken word or movies,” Nielson said. “He can draw so many people here to have this communal atmosphere.”
Dizzy Harrison, anthropology and international studies freshman, said she attended with Hip Hop Congress members in hopes of hearing Common speak about important morals their student organization prioritizes.
“We’re all about diversity, inclusivity and hip-hop music; Common is about all of those things as well,” Harrison said.
For more information about the 2019-2020 Common Experience events, visit its website.