Common Delivers Compelling Performance with the Houston Symphony

Darian Ellis @darianellisxo

Black Excellence. 

That was my original thought when I first learned of this particular event. It is not often that Hip Hop is often associated with the “elegance” of the Arts.  Instead, it is often stereotyped as mostly highlighting disrespect toward women and violence toward others. 

However, Common is among a handful of performers whose work has remained a driving force for upliftment and progression in the Hip Hop and African American community. He began his career in 1992 with his debut album “Can I Borrow a Dollar?” and has grown to become one of the most successful and influential artists of this generation. He is also recognized for his work as an actor, activist, and philanthropist. 

On Wednesday, September 4th, at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, Common joined the Houston Symphony for a memorable evening. From the moment I entered the auditorium, I could tell I would be witnessing something special. I was stunned by the overwhelming majority of beautiful Black people dressed to kill. I was almost bursting from the excitement in my seat. The lights fell and the orchestra poured into their sections on stage. Our composer for the evening was none other than Steven Reineke. He began the night by welcoming and informing us that this merging of the two different music genres was the first time it had been performed.  

Common was introduced and delivered a heartfelt performance. He captivated the crowd during the entire time with popular songs from his discography as well as from his newest album “Let Love” that was released August 30, 2019. My favorite part of the evening was when he brought a female fan onstage and performed “Come Close” while playfully flirting as she blushed relentlessly onstage. He also didn’t hesitate to deliver messages regarding the political state of affairs in America. He spoke on important issues regarding race, voting, and immigration. 

His performance ended in a roaring standing ovation. I left that evening feeling incredibly inspired. There were lingering thoughts of ways to make an impact within my family and community. His message was clear and received. After the show, he was gracious enough to greet fans and take photos. This man is truly a class act. 

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