Common isn’t playing with y’all when it comes to voting this fall.
The rapper who was among the panelists Friday at the “Young, Gifted & Black” panel, held during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference, told an audience of young people how he’d feel if they didn’t head to the polls in November.
“With all this stuff going on in this administration,” and after identifying so many qualified candidates on the ballot, Common said, “if you don’t go vote, I don’t want to see you protest, I don’t want to see you tweet.”
The panel, which was moderated by honorary host Congresswoman Maxine Waters, also featured rapper Rapsody, poet and educator Bomani Armah along with newcomer, YBN Cordae.
In fact, Congresswoman Waters has organized and hosted this panel for more than a decade — not only engaging young people who frequent the Annual Legislative Conference, but also involving the hip hop community and members of Congress.
During the discussion, which featured performances by each panelist, Common also shared the inspiration behind his Oscar-winning song, “Glory,” which he wrote with frequent collaborator John Legend, and was featured in the film, Selma.
The 46-year-old rapper, who also starred in the film, revealed that when he wrote the song, he “hadn’t seen the movie yet, but I was in the movie.”
“The movie affected my life a lot,” Common added. “I started thinking about Dr. King and what he preached, and that’s what made me start the verse off with: ‘Hands to the Heavens, no man, no weapon.'”
Common also performed his 2016 song, “The Day Women Took Over,” which imagines a day when women are in charge and name-checks some of our favorite Black women, including Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé.
“I wrote this when I was thinking about Congresswomen Waters and like women her,” Common said.