Common wants the students enrolled at Art in Motion charter school, which he launched in 2018, to be OK with their feelings. “Art In Motion is one of the greatest things I have ever been able to be a part of. It’s a school less than two miles from where I grew up. It's geared to bring academics but also artistic expression and holistic living to children that are from Chicago,” he shared with EBONY at the Second Stage Theater’s Winter’s Ball, held inside The Pierre in New York City.
“When it comes down to emotional intelligence, we want to give kids resources like meditation and the knowledge that it's okay to have therapy if you choose to. It's really about me creating the access for young people to be as truthful as possible,” continued the actor and rapper.
Art in Motion students benefit from all the connections Common has made in his career. “We let them tap into the artists and human beings within them, and let them have the tools and resources that I've been afforded to have as I've been traveling and meeting people who know more things than I do,” he revealed. “For me, it’s bringing that information back and creating it in the school. That's what the intention is. We accomplished something really strong with these kids; instead of going to detention, they go to a Peace room. We’re doing theater productions and performances and, eventually, we'll have people who work in costume design and film lighting come to teach some of the classes so the kids will be exposed to things that they never knew existed when they watch a movie.”
Fresh off his theater run in Between Riverside and Crazy, Common is feeling all the vibes as the newest member of the Broadway community. “I’ve wanted to do theater for a long time since I started acting. And now to be a part of the community, I feel grateful and accepted,” he shared about his debut. “Broadway is the biggest stage for theater. So for me to get in tune with the costume team that I worked with, and the stage production and the props team, it was like, ‘Oh, this is Broadway. This is how we do it.’ We all work together to make it happen.”
Common wasn’t nervous about taking to the live stage six days a week during the Second Stage-produced run of the show—that is until his mom attended.
“My mother brought almost 200 people from Chicago, so it was a lot of people I grew up with and family,” he said. “But I don't feel like I was very nervous. I had those feelings that I would have going into something that I care about and a performance that I love.” That love is being poured into his next project, a new series for Apple TV that premieres this month.
“It's called Silo, based on the e-book Wool, ” he declared. “This world exists hundreds of years from now and people have to live underground, we don't know why. A lot of things don't exist, like racism and sexism, but there's still classism and a government calling shots. It's a real examination of humanity and our behavior: if we didn't have some of the things that we carry from our history, how would we behave? It's a really incredible series. With Between Riverside and Crazy and this project, this is really the level I want to be creating at.”