Common Speaks On Stacey Abrams And Importance Of Georgia

BOSSIP was in the building for the 2023 Georgia Democracy Dinner on Thursday, October 12 at the Atlanta History Center.

Images of Common and Christine White at the Georgia Alliance Awards

Source: Latoya Wright / Wright Now Photography

The Democracy Dinner is an acknowledgment of the 100+ local institutions that work together to cultivate power through civic engagement, civic education, and civic participation. This year’s theme was “Celebrating the Power of Coalition.”

One of this year’s honorees was award-winning American rapper, actor and activist, Common. BOSSIP’s Sr. Content Director spoke with the Chicago native about his thoughts on rappers like Kanye West and Sexxy Red supporting Donald Trump. It turns out,  Common is less worried about people’s support for candidates he disagrees with and more focused on how he can create the most change for those in need.

“Who people believe in, that’s who they gotta believe in,” Common told us. “If that’s your choice, that’s who you believe in, I’m just going to make a choice to to do what I think is right by a greater whole. I try to look at things and say, ‘OK, first of all, who are the people who are being oppressed and not really getting served well?’ Whether that’s poor people or people that are incarcerated, whether it’s women, Latinos, that doesn’t sit right with me. If I’m sitting in the room and one person is getting treated bad, it doesn’t feel right to me. I look at the work that I do as like, ‘Who can I help that are the people that are really not getting treated fairly?’ And I try to create opportunities and self-empowerment for them. So my political work is based on that.”

“I’m only going to support candidates and people who I really believe in,” Common continued. “We might not agree on every political point, because I’m not a politician, but I know certain policies can benefit our communities. Like to benefit those who’ve been incarcerated for weed when it’s now legal, certain policies could change that. Or a young person who is serving three life sentences, but they may have done something when they were really young and deserve to at least go in front of parole board. Or the things that I feel are important like we’re just trying to get better education, better arts programs supported. If I’m saying I want democracy and to be free I can’t really try to dictate what you’re doing. I could show you my example, what I think the best way is right, but I’m not even going to sit here and try to use energy for that. You believe what you believe in. But how can we get together and get something done on this side where this is going to help what these people are going through?”

Images of Common and Christine White at the Georgia Alliance Awards

Source: Latoya Wright / Wright Now Photography

We also spoke with Christine White, the Executive Director of the Georgia Alliance for Progress who spoke to the need for Democrats to get organized.

“The Georgia Alliance For Progress is a coalition of donors, organizers and funders who support the civic engagement work all over Georgia to progress or advance the progressive movement,” White told BOSSIP. “Our organization is important because we have to all be on the same page about we want our government to be for us. I think that the other side is very coordinated. We have not been as coordinated, but we have to get coordinated and the work that we’ve been doing for the past ten years is really a testament to that we have folks who are working in all different areas to defend the values that we hold dear, including LGBTQI rights and racial justice and climate justice, the care economy. All pushing for different issues, but pulling together and so we’re down at the Capitol pushing for those issues together. We’re knocking on doors together so all of the constituency groups, all of the communities that we represent are here tonight and we just want to make sure that we have an opportunity to celebrate our wins and also let the world know that Georgia is not done.”

Other honorees at the event included Ben & Jerry’s, Melanie Campbell, Bobby Fuse, Hillary Holley, Krista Brewer, Bertis Downs, Scott Satterwhite, Billy Hall and Leslie Palomina. For more information on the Georgia Alliance for Progress visit their website HERE.

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