All Articles Tagged "Common"

More Than Good Music: Common And Kanye To Bring Jobs To Chicago

April 16th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: WENN

Source: WENN

We already know Chicago has been is still going through some things when it comes to youth violence and unemployment in the city. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that there’s a connection between the two. In January, a report detailed the depressing landscape for young, black males in the work force with 92 percent joblessness.

To remedy the problem the Urban League partnered with rapper and Chicago native Common and songwriter Che “Rhymefest” Smith to create 1,000 year-round jobs for teens.

Spawned by the feedback from teens at the end of the summer job programs, the partnership will include a music festival fundraiser this summer.

Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of the Urban League said, “Every year, we hold a hearing where young people in the summer jobs programs come and talk about the impact the jobs had on their lives.”

But this year the teens brought up an entirely different issue.

They told Zopp, “Their need for a job doesn’t end in September. They have needs to support their families, take care of themselves. They want to work year-round. So in our community, we have to focus on that topic.”

Rev. Michael Pfleger, who attended the announcement says jobs are the solution to decreased crime in the city. “Ninety-five percent of the brothers I deal with every day on the streets wants the same thing every kid on the North Side and on the North Shore wants. Until we offer them options, the violence is our fault, because we’ve failed them.”

The program will launch 1,000 jobs initially with a goal to have 15,000 jobs within the next five years.

The music festival will raise funds for youth programs supported by Common’s Common Ground Foundation, and rapper Kanye West’s charity Donda’s House run by Rhymefest and his wife.

Here’s what Common had to say about it.

“Any time I hear of innocent people getting shot and killed and young people with guns, it hurts. I felt I have to do more than just write songs about Chicago. Obviously, one of the biggest reasons our kids are going through what they’re going through is because of poverty. I was doing an event in the neighborhood and there were some kids from Englewood and I said, ‘Man, what do y’all really need? What’s gonna stop this? And they were like, ‘We need money. Man, if we could work.’ They want a chance.”

True. Kudos to Common, Kanye and Rhymefest.

The inaugural fundraiser will be held September 20-21.


Happy 86th Birthday Maya Angelou! 7 Gems Of Wisdom From The Author

April 4th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Judy Eddy/

Judy Eddy/

Dr. Maya Angelou has provided inspiration for countless people around the world throughout her lifetime. It’d be virtually impossible to measure the scope and depth her work has left on the people she’s touched; but since today marks the 86th anniversary of her birth, it’s only fitting that we at least highlight just some of gems she’s dropped on us over the past 86 years.

I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t love themselves.

This one is pretty self explanatory and completely logical. Yet and still so many of us will waste much time trying to repair broken people and being surprised when they cant reciprocate. Anyone who doesn’t love themselves can’t possibly love you in the way you want and need to be loved.

Celebs Who Put Their Lovers In Their Music Videos (Sometimes More Than Once)

January 21st, 2014 - By Iva Anthony
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Being in love is always a great feeling and it’s even greater to share it with the world, like these artists who weren’t shy about having their boos star in a music video with them for all to see.

Celebs Who Put Their Lovers In Their Music Videos

Usher and Chilli

In 2001, Chilli made a lot of women jealous after she started dating Usher. Although their relationship only lasted for two years, that was enough time for Chilli to appear in two of Usher’s videos: “U Got It Bad” and “U Don’t Have To Call.” After their relationship came to an end, many speculated the songs off of Usher’s Confessions album (which hinted of an affair and a love child) were about their relationship, but the TLC member revealed that Jermaine Dupri’s love life was really the inspiration behind it all.

Pass Or Play? Common Addresses Chicago Gun Violence In New Song “War”

January 8th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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common addresses chicago gun violence

Even though he’s got his SAG card, you can never count Common out of the Hip Hop game, specifically when it’s time to speak on something important.

Recently, Common announced the approach of his new album Nobody Smiling. And from that we’ve got the single “War.” The song, with lyrics set over an almost epic sounding military marching beat, Common describes the harrowing scene of not just the violence but how it specifically affects the lives of those directly involved.

In one verse he speaks about the death of a young man.

Mama kissed him, body was colder

She was shaking, I tried to hold her 

Tears on my shoulder

He was supposed to be going to his junior year, 

This is his funeral year

Pall bearers all looking like kids

Some faces show anger, some show tears

No mustaches no beards probably had the same aspirations as his. 

And then he addresses the seemingly heartless perpetrators of that violence in the chorus.

“To all the killas and the hundred dolla bills. Real hittas who ain’t got no feelings.” 

He even speaks about the government and media’s role in the violence and how some entities are using the very real violence and subsequent deaths to promote their own self serving agendas.

“I’m living in this sh*t while the world exploit it.”

And then he goes on to speak on how the completely innocent are plagued by the turmoil as well.

Politicians ain’t did enough

Want to get rid of us

Hopped in the back as soon as shots hit the truck

Looked at my son, I could see his soul

Shot and killed at 3 years old. 

At the end of the track we hear Common talking about the reason he decided to name his project “Nobody Smiling,” the violence that extends beyond just Chicago and what he hopes people take from this record.

Take a listen to the song below and let us know what you think about it. Pass or play?

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “Just Wright”

November 11th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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Just Wright   Original Filename: original[1].jpg

On the realest tip, putting this slideshow together has made me want to go home and watch Just Wright from start to finish. It’s just so precious! The good girl wins out and gets the guy– and not the nerdy guy who loved her from afar while she was attracted to the captain of the basketball team, she gets the captain of the basketball team. It’s a romantic comedy made in heaven. You know the story, you love this actors in this flick and it might even be in your DVD collection but we bet you don’t know these behind the scenes secrets.

It’s All About The Facial Hair: Celebrity Men Who Look Better With Beards

October 16th, 2013 - By Meghan Reid
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If they left it up to us we would never let these guys shave. Some men just look better with hair on their face and we love when they do. A bare face just doesn’t have the same rugged sex appeal that only beards can give. Here are 15 celebrity men we prefer to see with beards.
Celebrity Men Who Look Better With Beards

Taye Diggs

Taye Diggs looks older and more mature with facial hair. When he shaves it all off he looks like a little boy waiting for puberty to start.

Erykah, Rihanna and The Assumed Power of Crazy

July 24th, 2013 - By Jade Earle
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Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

A friend and I were talking a few days ago about the BET awards. I know, a day late and a dollar short, but we had nothing else to really talk about after talking about our day. Of course, as Erykah Badu fans, we mentioned the performance and how excited we were seeing one of the Queens perform.

Erykah killed it, no, slayed it, with her infectious voice and hypnotic cool. She also never fails to bring her confidence and her bodacious, ahem, assets. But, Erykah has always been like this — the spiritually grounded Earth Mother who cared less about what anyone thought of her, which only made her even more attractive. It’s this vibe that many said turned some men into putty. From Common to Andre 3000, Erykah has history with a few men who “changed” because of her. Common went from newsboy hats to Dashikis. Andre started wearing loincloths. Not to mention, Erykah also has three children – one from Andre — each from a different father.

As a result, Queen Erykah was deemed crazy and then the jokes started coming. First, many of them were harmless — “If you get with Erykah, you may start wearing African cloths,” one of my friends used to say. And, then, similar to the comments I saw on Twitter during the BET Awards, they got a little more problematic — “As long as he doesn’t look at her in the eye, young Kendrick should be fine.”

As funny as it sounds, the comments are pretty alarming.

But, Erykah isn’t the only one who’s been deemed “dangerous” to the male species. Rihanna was said to have made Matt Kemp lose focus during his last few baseball games of the season and made Chris Brown lose his mind… (I’m not even going there). Rumor has it Kim Kardashian is the reason for Kanye’s dramatic musical “transformation” and why he’s sold out to the same commercialism he criticizes so strongly in his music.

What makes comments like these so problematic is not only the blame on a woman for another person’s behavior, but also the “weakness” of a man. It says that if a woman, in particular may be from another country, practice a different religion, or is even aware of her sexuality openly – all traits that can be attributed to Rih, Erykah and Kim – she’s too dangerous or “too much to handle.” Listen, if my turban, maxi skirt and bamboo earrings make a man stop practicing his religion or, worst-case scenario, taking showers, I wasn’t the one who “hypnotized” him to do so. But, blaming women for a man’s behavior, good, bad or indifferent, is the foundation of victim blaming. As easy as it is to say that she was the one who drove him crazy, it’s even simpler to say she’s the reason he harassed her.

But, I digress.

Andre has always worn funky costumes (OutKast, anyone?) and Common has never been particularly mainstream in his way of thinking (shoutout to Soulquarian!), so Erykah really had a lot less to do with how they acted.

The point of the matter is that a man, or any person, changing their lifestyle or behavior is because that change was already deeply rooted in him or her. No woman is going to bring out what isn’t there to begin with. Chances are that the attraction a man has for a woman or vice versa reflects their innate qualities anyway. If you don’t like taking showers, chances are you may attract someone who isn’t too fond of soap either. But, say you eventually grow out of that phase (which, I hope you would). What happens? You move on, and attract someone else who reflects what’s in you.

So, don’t blame Erykah, Kim or any other woman for the man that he becomes.


Darius, Darnell, Dejuan And Other Names You Know Belong To A Black Man Off The Bat

July 1st, 2013 - By Brande Victorian
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We’re pretty sure we’re not breaking any news here when we say there are certain names that you hear that automatically create a certain image in your head. And when it comes to the names on this list, that image is that of a black man. You probably already have the names in your head — the Laquans, Deshawns, Surons, and so forth — but it’s more fun if we say it out loud, right? Here are the names that when you hear them, you don’t even have to see the face to go with them because you know they belong to a black man. And yes, we mean black as in African American.

Source: Shutterstock

Source: Shutterstock

Terrell and Tyrone

Tyrone may be Gaelic in origin, but it’s come to be black in culture. And Terrell? If you’ve ever met a white man by that name, we want to know about it.

Responsible Rappers With (Mostly) Clean Lyrics That We Love

June 20th, 2013 - By Meghan Williams
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In a world full of Lil Waynes, Chief Keefs and Nicki Minajs, it’s not often we hear rap music that isn’t laced with expletives and sexually charged, violent lyrics. So those rappers who make it a point to produce clean music are like a breath of fresh air. Which artists fall in this category? Click on to find out.




Will Smith

Back when Will Smith was The Fresh Prince, he secured his place in music history by releasing songs with PG lyrics and wholesome themes. Though other artists have adopted a similar strategy, Will Smith has always been considered one of the cleanest overall.

We Love A Man With Facial Hair! Celebrity Men With The Best Beards

May 8th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Bearded & Black

Bearded & Black

From StyleBlazer

In a new study from the University of South Wales, men with beards were found to be more attractive, better parents and healthier than shaven ones. That’s right fellas, grow it out!

The university surveyed 350 women and 200 men by asking them to rate men by attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities from photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded. Published in the latest issue of “Evolution and Human Behavior,” the surprising results found that “beardedness affects judgments of male socio-sexual attributes and suggest that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring.”

To read more about the study, go here.

But first, look below at the best celebrity beards. It was a close call for all these non-shaven men, but this is what we came up with:


6th Annual Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon

Check out the other fine bearded men on

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