Common Inspires Students During OSU Appearance


Last Thursday the students of Oklahoma State University had the amazing opportunity to hear activist, humanitarian, actor and rapper, Common, speak at the Gallagher-Iba Arena. His appearance comes on the heels of his Academy Award and Golden Globe wins for his powerful song, Glory,” from the must-see movie, Selma.”

“Speakers Board is really proud to present recent Oscar Award winner, Common, to the students of Oklahoma State. We are excited for students to be inspired by his insight into social progress and his use of music to spark social change,” said Speakers Board chairwoman, Shae Godsey.

Evan Woodson is a graduate student at OSU and he was tasked with finding “a multicultural speaker” as part of his yearly Martin Luther King Jr. tribute hosting duties. He wanted to bring someone to the university with something powerful to say and there’s not much doubt that Common was able to deliver the goods.

Woodson said, “I thought it’d be cool to have somebody who represented a very different slice of American life and a different part of our culture. If anything because we don’t get a lot of it here. The reality is Common is a humanitarian. He’s an activist, he has a foundation, and he’s an actor. I think it’s important just to bring a different angle of what American life is and can be.”

One can only imagine the awe and inspiration students felt as they listened to the words of wisdom Common had to share with them. Words spoken by a man who has a way of moving people with the power behind his words as was evident by the impact of his recent acceptance speech at the 2015 Academy Awards and his Grammy award winning music.

“If you want to be great, you have to train at it, you have to work, you have to practice,” Common said.

“You can’t be afraid to wear your greatness. You can’t be afraid to wear your greatness no matter where you are, no matter who’s in the room, it is your duty to wear your greatness. The light that was created in you was made up to be put on a lamp stand, not under the bed, so that everyone who walks in the room can see your light,” he added.

Chairwoman Goodsey was thrilled with the power of Common’s speech last week, as she said, “We literally couldn’t have picked a better speaker. We’re so happy that Common was the one who accepted our bid because he is the perfect person for this.”

Many at OSU are praising the Speakers Board for their decision to reach out to Common and see the event as an important turning point for the university’s diversification.

Woodson echoed these sentiments when he said, “Hopefully people get a better understanding of the potential impact that hip-hop, poetry and some of these black forms of art have because there is no sort of platform for these forms of art at OSU.”

Hopefully the words Common passionately spoke during last week’s event will rise above the recent revelations of the hateful words and actions perpetrated by fraternity members.

May they be used much like the bridge in Selma where so many have marched for equality. May they be used to “transform race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and social state.” Let his words serve as a bridge of “hope, welded with compassion and elevated by love for all human beings.”

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