10 Reasons We Can't Wait to Hear from Common at SmartSocial Summit

The hip-hop artist and activist Common is an extraordinary person. Common defies easy categorization, and his accolades include hip-hop artistry, activism, acting in major films, writing, and more. Common is also well-versed in the digital world. This November we’re honored that Common will be the keynote speaker at Spredfast Summit, our yearly digital marketing event that brings together the greatest minds in social.

We’re looking forward to Common’s keynote address for too many reasons to count, but we gathered our favorite ten reasons right here:

Common defies easy categorization, and his accolades include hip-hop artistry, activism, acting in major films, writing, and more.


1. He’s a Grammy, Oscar, and Emmy winner

Common is the only hip hop artist to be one Tony shy of an “EGOT.” In addition to co-starring in blockbuster movies like Selma, American Gangster, Date Night, and Smokin Aces (among many others), his music career has spanned decades. With his poetic music Common has won three Grammys and he’s been nominated an astounding 20 times.

2. He also won a golden globe

Common and John Legend shared the award for Best Original Song in 2015. The song is titled “Glory” and was featured in “Selma.”

3. His activism is an inspiration

Common’s activism takes many important forms. He founded the non-profit Common Ground Foundation, a youth mentoring program in Chicago because, he says: “I wanted to help. Most of all help people to help themselves. I always believed that if we started with the youth then we would be planting the seeds for our future to blossom.” Common also founded Imagine Justice, a new organization focused on the issues of mass incarceration.

4. He’s a social media rock star

Common has 2.3M Instagram followers and 5.4 M Twitter followers. He shares with his followers important messages about equality and civil rights, behind-the-scenes videos of his music and performances, and intimate windows into his life.

5. He just released a new album

Common teamed up with collaborators pianist Robert Glasper and drummer Karriem Riggins, to form the group August Greene, and their self-titled debut album is full of incredible songs. A highlight: a spoken-word interlude titled “Piano Interlude” demonstrates concern for the next generation, writes NPR. The lyrics: "I met a little boy, he asked where are we now? / I met a little girl she asked me if I was proud? / Of what I've become and what the world will allow / I might put up a fight but yet in still I'm losing ground / If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears the sound / Did it really ever happen at all? / Did it really ever happen at all?"

6. He’s performed at the White House (multiple times)

Just to name a couple: Common was invited to the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011 to perform a poetry reading, and in 2016 he performed music as part of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert series.

7. He knows what it takes to produce great content

In addition to his many other talents and ventures, Common is also a producer. He was the executive producer of Netflix drama “Burning Sands” and he is now an executive producer of “The Chi” on Showtime, a coming-of-age story from writer Lena Waithe.

8. He’s a published author

Common is the author of several books, including a memoir titled, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense.” His memoir was published in 2012 to much critical acclaim. Said Maya Angelou: "Common has written a magnificent memoir. It states that it is a book about his fascinating life. That is true. More importantly, his story is the story of all young people trying to grow up. His saga reminds the reader that love liberates and poverty cripples. Common writes beautifully, like the poet he is." Other titles of Common’s include “The Mirror and Me,” “I Like You But I Love Me” which was nominated for an NAACP Image award, and “M.E. (Mixed Emotions).” Look for his next title in Spring 2019.

9. He’s an influencer

Common has been the face and voice of many top brands, including Microsoft, Diesel, and Lincoln Navigator- just to name a few.

10. He’s a hip-hop statesman

From NPR: "Few rappers can lay claim to his uncommon career longevity. In the quarter century since his 1992 debut (Can I Borrow A Dollar?), he's gone from Chi-town's native son to Hollywood heart throb. But his penchant for thoughtful introspection remains consistent, and it's the guiding force in a timely collection that finds him wearing the hat of a hip-hop statesman.

Join us for Summit November 5—7 to be inspired by Common as well as other digital marketing experts. See our lineup here.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.