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Common debuts new song 'Black Kennedy' at Tribeca Film Festival

By Karen Butler
Common debuts new song 'Black Kennedy' at Tribeca Film Festival
Common arrives for the the 23rd annual SAG Awards in Los Angeles on January 29. The rapper and actor took part in a "Tribeca Talk" conversation at the Tribeca Film Festival Sunday. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 24 (UPI) -- Rapper and actor Common performed his latest song "Black Kennedy" at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York Sunday.

Common took part in a "Tribeca Talk: Storytellers" chat with writer-director Nelson George after a screening of the extended version of Common's music video for "Letter to the Free," helmed by Bradford Young.

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"The conversation spanned musical influences of the 1980s and 90s, social-justice flashpoints, Common's first acting gig on Tracee Ellis Ross and Mara Brock Akil's Girlfriends, his respect for director Ava DuVernay, and activism in hip-hop today, name-dropping Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar," a Tribeca press release said.

Speaking about his relationship with DuVernay -- the filmmaker who helmed Selma, the 2015 civil-rights picture Common acted in and for which he won an Oscar for writing the anthem "Glory" -- Common revealed: "Well, one day my daughter hit me and was like, 'You know if Ava is Malcolm X, you Martin Luther King.'

"She's at Howard now and she was trying to say I was softer than Ava I when it comes to the revolutionary aspect," Common continued. "And I was like embarrassed that she would say that about me. Don't get me wrong, I do feel like Ava does have an unapologetic and unashamedly Blackness about her and she embraces that and does it universally, but I was like: 'Damn. I do that, too.' But I think I'm always talking about love and extending the hand of love and embracing people. I've learned to embrace people that may not think the way I think or may be on the opposite side when it comes to politics. They may be on the opposite side of many things, but my first step is to do what our former first lady says, 'Go high when they go low.' So, that's my mentality."

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He described his admiration for DuVernay, calling her "really inspiring."

"I see somebody who is dedicated to putting Black culture and Black faces out in the world in the purest way. In a truthful way. In a way we don't get to see all the time," he noted. "She's very talented. And to me, one of her biggest gifts is knowing how to put people together. Because I've met some of the most talented and some of my best friends in the industry are people that I've met working on projects with Ava."

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