Love is in the air in the Queen City. Grammy, Emmy, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning artist, author and activist Common stopped in Charlotte on Friday as part of his “Let Love Have The Last Word” book tour.
During a fireside chat-style conversation with Bishop Claude Alexander of The Park Church, Common shared his personal experiences with God, self-love, partners, children, family and community.
The Park Church was the perfect setting to host the rapper-turned-author for this event. Common said he felt right at home as he grew up attending church with his mother in Chicago. He started by stating, “We are all created by God and are reflections of Him. He created us with peace, love, compassion, joy and kindness. Those are all things that we have and that we all deserve.” Amen to that.
I sat down with Common before he hit the stage to dig deeper into some of the themes in his memoir.
You’ve said that love is the most powerful force on the planet. It determines who you are and how you experience life. Through this lens, how are you experiencing life differently?
Honestly, throughout most of my life, I’ve looked through a lens of love. I haven’t been perfect in that lens, but I’ve experienced a joyful life. I try to see the best parts in everything in life. That’s what love is. It doesn’t mean that I don’t see the other parts that exist, but I don’t focus on it because it’s not useful in uplifting others.
Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, how were you able to filter out the negativity?
I mean, growing up, I got into trouble…fights and things like that. At times, I was wild. I had things to get off of my chest and at the time, that’s the way I expressed myself. Through all of that, I was never mean-spirited. I never wanted to take another person off the planet.
Over time, I realized what made me feel best was putting out positive energy. I still have moments where I have to calm myself down, but I’m all about love.
Speaking of being all about love, in the book, you talked about being addicted to love. How did you learn to give and receive love in a healthy way vs. being addicted solely to the feeling of love?
First of all, I had to recognize that I was addicted to love. I didn’t realize that until I began therapy. I’d always think, “She’s just not the right one” or that I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship or marriage. Those were the reasons that I told myself. But it was really about me repeating patterns of chasing the ‘butterfly’ feeling of love.
I had to ask myself if I was ready to do the work that a relationship requires. Relationships are as much about the work that you put in as they are about being joyful and loving. Even with beauty that comes with love, it can be tiring at times. I was in a cycle of love addiction and had to recognize when I’m in that phase of chasing the sensuality of love. I challenged myself to be present and understand what the next phase of love looks like. Fear of abandonment and love addiction didn’t allow me to be the best person in past relationships.
What does letting love have the last word look like in action?
The title has a wholeness to it. “Let Love Have the Last Word” doesn’t mean things will always end up the way that you want them to. You can be pissed at a person but you have to rise above it. Let them know how they made you feel, step back and allow yourself to process it and always lead with love.
Nakisha Washington is a journalist who interviewed America’s first self-made female billionaire, a presidential candidate and her favorite reality TV personality all within 72 hours. Catch her talking career and lifestyle tips to curious millennials on her blog, theprofashionalist.com.