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Common Encourages Students During Lecture

(NSU NEWSROOM--April 9, 2014)--Rapper/Actor Common visited Norfolk State University this week and delivered a motivational address to more than 1,000 students and guests about his interpretation of the meaning of greatness and encouraged students to follow their path.

The Grammy Award-winning artist, who has also been featured on the big screen in films such as “Just Wright” and “New Year’s Eve” talked with attendees at NSU’s L. Douglas Wilder Center of Performing Arts as a part NSU’s (L.E.A.D.) Leadership, Educational and Development Speaker Series.

The rapper, whose real name is Lonnie Rashid Lynn, shared stories about his journey to becoming a respected hip-hop artist, growing up in Chicago, his struggles with relationships and trying to break into Hollywood as an African-American actor. He began his speech with a freestyle rap and made references to NSU landmarks and items such as the “Towers” and the “SpartanCard.”

The artist encouraged students and guests to “turn obstacles into possible” and that overcoming adversity helps to prepare individuals for success.

"Your light deserves to be seen. It deserves to be recognized,” Common said to the audience. “And you should never dim your light for anyone."

Jonathan Walker, assistant dean of students and director of Living and Learning Communities at NSU, who organized the event, said Common’s lecture was a part of the theme of the speaker series this semester, “Empowering Student Leaders for Success.”

After his message, Common answered various questions from the audience about what inspires him, what he thinks about the hip-hop music of today, how he remains humble, racism and other topics. He even handed the microphone to an aspiring rapper/singer who performed on stage.

But his main goal was to tell the audience about finding their paths in life.

“I’m here to tell you all that greatness is within you…” the rapper said. “I’m here to tell you that whatever you want to do, you will have to work at it…

“If you find your path, believe in your path and live your path, you will reach the greatness within yourself.”

**Check out our Storify post to view more pictures of the event and to also read about what some attendees thought about Common’s visit to Norfolk State on Twitter.

 
     
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