Common is one of Hip Hop’s most outspoken rappers in the game today, and when it comes to issues like the prison system and how it affects Black lives, the Chicago rapper isn’t one to sit back and watch things unfold.
As CBS 2 reported, the “Come Close” emcee blessed inmates at the Statesville Correctional Center with a music studio that is complete with mixing boards, musical instruments, microphones and sound panels. The goal is to create a productive environment for incarcerated individuals to develop new skills as they serve time.
“The gentlemen who are incarcerated deserve access to better things in life so that’s why I fight for my city,” Common said. “And that’s why my heart is always with Chicago. Being from Chicago is one of the greatest gifts and assets to me in my career and my life.”
According to CBS 2, Common’s donation was fueled after a conversation with Attorney Ari Williams. The young attorney reportedly had a vision for the inmates at the Chicago state prison and reached out to the actor with his idea.
“I know music brings us all together. I want them to be OK,” he said. “I want them to do something they’ve love to do. And I know many of them are rappers. They love to rap and they love to sing.”
With the installation of the new recording studio, Common’s Imagine Justice nonprofit will host a 12-week program for inmates at Statesville that will offer them knowledge on music production, music creation and recording.
Per Alyssa Williams at the Department of Corrections, participating in the course may gradually reduce the prison sentences of some inmates. “Everyday they’re in this program [inmates] earn a day credit off of their sentence, as long as the statute allows for that,” she explained, adding that the course ultimately gives those incarcerated optimistic thoughts about their lives and their future.
“This brings so much hope for them and inspiration for them,” she said. “Them to know people actually care about them, that can change them as well.”
.@common just unveiled a music studio at the Stateville Correctional Center. Antony Ablan will also teach students how to write songs and produce music in the studio during the first 12-week course. #twill ? pic.twitter.com/FGGn6fdUGU
— Mike Miletich (@MikeMiletichTV) October 5, 2021
@common it was amazing to see you today and what #imaginejustice is doing for the guys at stateville correctional center. As a counselor there, this meant so much to them for you to inspire change and create an opportunity for them to learn. I cant wait to see it evolve.
— Jamison Perspective (@thejamisonview) October 6, 2021
Swedish music producer David Jassy did something similar last year for the inmates at San Quentin State Prison. San Quentin Mixtapes, Vol. 1 is a collection of songs written and performed by a select number of inmates at San Quentin State Prison that Jassy worked very closely with in the studio he built for them.