Common Holds Concert & Roundtable Conversation At California Prison

Yohance Kyles (@HUEYmixwitRILEY)

"I’m proud to stand with REPRESENT JUSTICE on this important work.”

(AllHipHop News) Hip Hop artist Common (born Lonnie Rashid Lynn) partnered with the REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign to present a concert and roundtable conversation between incarcerated individuals. The event took place at the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in Norco.

“I do my best to use my platform to support the people who need a voice in the world,” said Common. “I’ve met some of the most incredible men and women in prison and I continue to work for criminal justice reforms. I’m proud to stand with REPRESENT JUSTICE on this important work.”

Common, a Grammy and Oscar-winning musician, was joined by recording artist Bobby Gonz. The REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign ambassador was sentenced to life in prison at 16 years old before receiving a commutation.

Common performing at CRC with Bobby Gonz. (photo credit: Ricky Horne Jr. for REPRESENT JUSTICE)

“Music was how I expressed my thoughts and feelings about being thrown away by the system. Writing songs is how I endured my reality as a lifer, which then led me to encourage others to finally open up and do the same,” said Gonz.

He continued, “In a place where only the strong survive, we came together through vulnerability and compassion and learned how true strength is only found when we embrace what we consider our weaknesses. I’m humbled to participate in the Campaign and perform with Common and to share my story with my brothers inside the California Rehabilitation Center.”

Common's performance is one of REPRESENT JUSTICE Campaign's initiatives that are established to engage audiences and spark collective action to demand a fair legal system, dignity for system-impacted communities, and an end to extreme sentencing. Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) and Imagine Justice also worked with the Campaign for the special event at the CRC.

Common in conversations with incarcerated individuals from CRC. (photo credit: Ricky Horne Jr. for REPRESENT JUSTICE)

“This concert, and many of the REPRESENT JUSTICE efforts in California, would not have been possible without the partnership and support of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,” stated Scott Budnick, founder and CEO of One Community and ARC. “We are working with many systems throughout the country on arts and culture programs inside prisons, and California leads the way on prioritizing rehabilitation and leading with hope.”

“We are grateful for artists like Common who use their platform to unapologetically take a stand for a justice system rooted in dignity,” added Sam Lewis, Executive Director of ARC. “It is a deeply moving experience for incarcerated people to hear first-hand from allies like Common, who they can count on to affirm their humanity when few other people will. That’s the first step to transformational change.”