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The Charlotta Bass Media Trailblazer Speaker Series

Book signing to follow.

Admission is free.


“Socially conscious rap superstar Common is a modern-day renaissance man.”—Apple Music

The Charlotta Bass Journalism & Justice Lab—USC’s first Black media studies center­—is thrilled to honor Common at the second annual Charlotta Bass Media Trailblazer Speaker Series event. The Academy Award–, Emmy-, and Grammy-winning artist, actor, author, and activist continues to break down barriers with a multitude of critically acclaimed roles and success in all aspects of his career. In his brand-new book, And Then We Rise: A Guide to Loving and Taking Care of Self, Common draws on his own experience of pursuing wellness as a crucial element of his success. 

“For Black women and Black men in America, self-care is a revolutionary act,” Common writes. “When you're working against dark forces, you’ve got to prepare yourself so that you can step forward with everything you’ve got.”

This special evening celebrating Common’s crucial messages of health, hope, and healing will include a conversation moderated by USC Annenberg associate professor, Bass Lab founder, and award-winning author Allissa V. Richardson, and will be introduced by USC Vice Provost for the Arts Josh Kun. An audience Q&A and book signing will follow.






Common is an Academy Award–, Emmy-, and Grammy–winning artist, actor, author, and activist. He has appeared in numerous critically acclaimed films, including Alice, The Hate U Give, John Wick: Chapter 2, and Selma, and recently wrapped production on the upcoming action-thriller Breathe. His television credits include Silo, The Chi, and Never Have I Ever, and he starred on Broadway in Between Riverside and Crazy. Common is the author of two New York Times bestselling memoirs, Let Love Have the Last Word and One Day It’ll All Make Sense, in addition to his new book, And Then We Rise. With roots as an underground rapper, Common’s latest albums, A Beautiful Revolution Parts 1 and 2, were written as a call to action to uplift, heal, and inspire listeners dealing with injustice. For the past few years, Common has been deeply engaged in social justice and advocacy work around mass incarceration, mental health, and voting. His foundation, Free to Dream, encompasses his 20 years of leadership as a changemaker, using his entertainment platform to advance the world’s most critical social causes, with a focus on education, justice, wellness, and jobs.

Dr. Allissa V. Richardson is an Associate Professor of Journalism at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. She researches how African Americans use mobile and social media to produce innovative forms of journalism—especially in times of crisis. Richardson is the author of Bearing Witness While Black: African Americans, Smartphones and the New Protest #Journalism, a prize-winning book exploring the lives of 15 mobile journalist-activists who documented the Black Lives Matter movement using only their smartphones and Twitter, from 2014 to 2018. In 2022, Richardson founded the Charlotta Bass Journalism & Justice Lab to highlight the social justice contributions of Black media makers such as these.

Presented by the Charlotta Bass Journalism and Justice Lab at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in partnership with USC Visions and Voices. Co-sponsored by the USC Black Alumni Association.

Photo: Brian Bowen Smith

Event Details

  • Alyssa Miller

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