Grammy-Winning Musician, Author and King of Conscious Hip-Hop Speaking Feb. 23 at Southeast

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 9, 2016– Oscar-nominated actor, Grammy-winning musician, author and King of Conscious Hip-Hop Common will present the University’s annual Michael Davis Lecture as a component of Southeast Missouri State University’s 2015-2016 Speakers Series Feb. 23 in the Show Me Center.

The Michael Davis Lecture recognizes the contributions of African Americans in the media. The event also honors the late Michael Davis, a journalism student at Southeast who died as a result of a hazing incident. In 1997, the then Department of Mass Communication held the first Michael Davis Lecture to honor his memory as part of the University’s Black History Month activities. The Michael Davis Lecture continues each year with a special invited guest from the mass media.

Common’s presentation, “Greatness,” is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are required for entry. General admission tickets are $10 and can be purchased at or the Show Me Center Box Office. Current Southeast faculty, staff and students can use a Redhawks ID to pick up a free ticket in the Center for Student Involvement (University Center Room 204) or the Show Me Center Box Office.

The “King of Conscious Hip Hop,” Common is one of music’s most poetic and respected lyricists. Over the course of nine albums, his introspective rhymes have pushed boundaries with their incisive social commentary. From “Can I Borrow a Dollar?” to “BE” and “Finding Forever” along with his Grammy-nominated collaborations with Kanye West, Common has spent 16 years in the notoriously fickle world of hip hop by taking risks and staying one step ahead of the game.

In 2007, he launched the Common Ground Foundation, an organization dedicated to the empowerment and development of America’s urban youth. Offering the younger generations a better understanding of self-respect and love, he has combined hip hop with literature, releasing three children’s books: “The MIRROR and ME,” “I Like You but I Love Me” and “M.E. (Mixed Emotions).” His first book for adults is the provocative and touching memoir, “One Day It’ll All Make Sense.” In 2015, Common received an Oscar and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song with John Legend for their powerful collaboration, “Glory,” featured in the civil rights film, “Selma.”

Common has also branched out into acting, portraying freed slave Elam Ferguson in AMC’s historical drama series “Hell on Wheels.” He also appears in several movies, including “Smokin’ Aces,” “Wanted,” “Terminator Salvation,” “Date Night” and “Just Wright.” Whether inspiring audiences through his music, his books or his foundation, Common continues to break new ground, and remains one of hip hop’s most innovative, positive voices.