Legendary Chicago rapper Common was presented the Harry Belafonte Voices for Social Justice Award on Wednesday, June 15 at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival for his social justice and advocacy work.
The award was presented by actor Robert De Niro, who co-founded the film festival in 2002.
On Instagram, the Chicagoan wrote, “Tonight I received the Harry Belafonte Voices for Social Justice Award and was presented to me by one of the greatest of all time: Robert De Niro. Thank you, @tribeca for all the love. #tribeca2022”
While presenting the award, De Niro said, “As an artist, Common continues to entertain us, and as an activist, he continues to lead in so many areas. Common — despite his modest name — has achieved great feats.”
On Tribeca’s website, it says, “Common continues to break down barriers with a multitude of critically acclaimed, diverse roles, and continued success in all aspects of his career.”
It continues, “Having starred in numerous film and television projects, Common has worked behind the scenes as an executive producer and on multiple soundtracks for which he has received Oscar, Grammy, NAACP, and Critic Choice Award nominations. Common has dedicated countless hours and has been deeply engaged in social justice and advocacy work around mass incarceration, mental health and voting.”
Tribeca also praised Common for launching the nonprofit Imagine Justice, which uses art to advocate for communities, and his Common Ground Foundation, which wants to help high school students in underserved communities by operating education programs in Chicago.
When asked how he grew to have a passion for activism Common said, “My Mom was a teacher. She showed me activism without showing it to me. She would bring kids over after school and made sure they were part of certain programs. And that was just natural. But that was activism.”