Academy-Award Winning Hip-Hop Artist, Actor and Activist Common to Keynote Sixth Annual ASU + GSV Education Innovation Summit

Common and His Mother, Respected Educator Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines, to Discuss Equality and Opportunity in Education

WOODSIDE, Calif.--()--We all know Common as an internationally successful hip-hop artist and the driving force behind the Academy Award-winning song “Glory” from this year’s powerful film, “Selma.” But Common is also a passionate education activist, and today we are announcing that he will join the roster of key speakers at the Sixth Annual ASU + GSV Education Innovation Summit. Common enriches a powerful lineup that includes Sir Richard Branson, Howard Schultz and Arne Duncan.

“It's an honor and a gift to come together with educators, entertainers, and corporate leaders to have a conversation about ways to create better conditions, better communities, and a better world.”

Following his keynote speech on Tuesday, April 7, Common will be joined by special guest Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines, his mother and an education advocate in her own right. The two will discuss their impact on improving the lives of youths through the Common Ground Foundation by using creative arts to expose youth to new opportunities. The personal commitment from Common and his mother stretches far and wide, including donations of time at summer camps, mentoring sessions for youth and principals, the forging of partnerships with organizations like the Chicago Urban League and the Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative and advocacy for equal opportunity and education improvement to better the lives of youth everywhere.

"Education is important in all our lives, young or old, it's the foundation to progress for all human beings,” said Common. “It's an honor and a gift to come together with educators, entertainers, and corporate leaders to have a conversation about ways to create better conditions, better communities, and a better world."

“Without a doubt, Common has been a huge influence not only on the music industry and Hollywood, but an inspiration for younger generations and a driving force in helping us realize hope, equality and opportunity in communities everywhere,” said Deborah Quazzo, founder and managing partner of GSV Advisors and Common Ground Foundation board member. “We’re honored that Common and Mahalia – one of the most respected leaders in public education – will be sharing their vision with us as we work to revolutionize education.”

The ASU + GSV Education Innovation Summit will take place in Scottsdale, Ariz., April 6-8, 2015. To keep up with event updates and sector news, visit the 2015 Summit website.

About Common

Grammy and Academy Award-winning artist Common has long been an influential and respected figure in the music and acting world. He was born as Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., in Chicago and raised by his mother, a teacher, and stepfather. Common is a world-renowned lyricist, poet, rapper, actor and entertainment icon. In addition to his massively successful music career, he has starred in countless successful films, and notably written the powerful Oscar-winning song “Glory” for one of the year’s most important films, “Selma.”

About Common Ground Foundation

The Common Ground Foundation, a Chicago-based organization dedicated to the empowerment and development of urban youth in the U.S., is a passionate focus for both Common and his mother – respected force in education, Dr. Mahalia A. Hines. The organization’s premise is to identify and develop tomorrow’s leaders through programs that promote holistic leadership and education. In 2014, the foundation introduced the AAHH! FEST, hosted by Common. The AAHH! FEST is a one-day community-wide musical celebration that provides a variety of job-related experiences for students, including hands-on training for youth ages 15-18.


Edelman for GSV
Joel Staley, 404-443-7293

Release Summary

Academy-Award winning rapper and education activist Common, joined by his mother, will speak at this year's ASU + GSV Education Innovation Summit.