Common and Nelson George Talk Music, Family, and Activism in Hip Hop At Tribeca Film

Tribeca Film Festival is showcasing some of the most talented actors, filmmakers, and directors to date. Tribeca Talk: Storytellers is a special presentation where a conversation happens between an actor, director, or screenwriter and a moderator. Earlier this week, Common sat down with Nelson George for an in-depth conversation after screening the film, Letter to the Free. The 19 minute visual showcases some of the world’s most famous jazz musicians going into the Queens Detention Complex to play music.

George and Common talked about a variety of things. They talked about the effects of social injustices and historical events on music and art. They also spoke of the artists who are stepping to the forefront on an activist level…specifically Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. They also spoke about Ava Duvernay and her effect on the industry, her influence on young people, and her ability to be unapologetically Black at all times.

Music is an extremely important part of the film industry. Common and George went through the history of music and even spoke about how artists like Public Enemy and Poor Righteous Teachers influenced a pro-black movement through their music. That was very different than what’s happening in Hip Hop now. While we do have a few lyricists that touch on politics and social issues, the music of the late 80s and 90s kept it real. Black love, empowerment, and awareness were alive and evident in the music and it definitely made a difference. When the talk was over, Common blessed the stage with a performance that included the debut of his new song, Black Kennedy. Check out a clip from the talk below and be sure to catch Letter to the Free before TFF closes on April 30th.

Photo Credit Carolyn Amuaro for Street Dreams
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