Common is easily regarded as one of the best lyricists and a hip-hop legend. Not to mention, for many women, he is consistently referred to as their #MCM. Although we constantly hear about his role as a rapper, an actor, and now an author, it's not every day that we get to hear about what is likely his most significant role -- a father.
Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity (thanks to my loving husband) to attend an up-close-and-personal, intimate conversation with Common, who was interviewed by the infamous DJ Drama.
Common was very transparent and forthcoming about his journey and experiences with hip-hop, his courage to go to therapy, his latest book and projects, and even his love life. He even shared snippets from some of his tracks off his upcoming album Let Love Have the Last Word (Sidenote: I was instantly hooked to every track he played. I can't wait!). The entire interview was so captivating, but there was a moment that almost moved me to tears.
Common shared one of his new songs titled "Show Me That You Love" which evokes the sentiments of a father-daughter healing session. The song recalls a revealing and heart-wrenching conversation between Common and his beautiful daughter.
A Father’s Perception, A Daughter’s Reality
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"Show Me That You Love" was like a love letter that a daughter like me, or any daughter for that matter, would appreciate from her father. As Common explained, it was actually inspired by a late-night call that he received from his daughter. Initially, he thought she was calling to tell him how "cool" of a dad he was, but he quickly realized that was not the case.
"She basically said , 'yo, you didn't even look out for me when I was younger. You didn't do certain things.' It jolted me back because I really thought I was a good father, but she was just like 'no, you weren't a good father.' It really challenged me. It shook me. I was hurt, I was mad, defensive…so eventually we had this discussion."
That discussion, the snippet we listened to, revealed some honest, unexpected, and transparent truths. I can't imagine how difficult it must've been for Common to hear the opposite of what he thought he was going to hear. Nevertheless, I know all too well from experience how much more difficult it likely was for his daughter to express herself to her father.
In his mind, Common thought he did everything he could to show her that he loved her. However, his daughter felt differently, and at times, she questioned if he really cared. In so many words, Common admitted that as she released her painful and sad reality, he too had to release the pride within himself.
The song was reminiscent of a recent conversation I had with my "dad," except their conversation was much more endearing and heartfelt. It was a friendly reminder that even the so-called best father-daughter relationships have room to grow.
Recently, my biological father (a term I use very loosely), for the first time in his life, actually admitted that he wasn't the best dad he could've been…by a longshot. Even though that particular conversation didn't change the reality of our distant relationship, it was at least comforting to hear him (thirty plus years later) own up to the fact that he wasn't the father I needed him to be. Through a lengthy back and forth text exchange, I realized his childhood experiences and family dynamics directly impacted his ability, and unwillingness, to be a father.
Of course, this is not to compare my dad to Common in any way because it's obvious that Common and his daughter share something that my father and I don't -- a beautiful, genuine, transparent, and loving relationship. I can easily count on one hand the number of times I've actually seen my father. I may not know everything about Common, but I know one thing's for certain -- he was way more active and he put forth a lot more effort than my so-called dad. Yet and still, this song really resonated with me because of Common's willingness to take responsibility for his actions.
At one point, the lyrics gave us insight into how his daughter must've felt and how hurtful it was when she saw him with another woman's child. I can say, from experience, that it's never easy when you're yearning for the love and attention from your father; only to see him providing that same love and attention to someone else's child.
Nonetheless, Common didn't allow his ego or his pride to overshadow or excuse the emotional truth of the situation. This wasn't just another review or a fan providing commentary about one of his latest projects; rather, this was an emotional outpour from his offspring - the daughter whom he admires and loves with all his heart.
As difficult as it was for him, he listened to his daughter. He allowed her the space and freedom to express what she was feeling. His willingness to open his heart allowed him to hear and receive what was inside of her heart.
Common Constantly Reminds His Daughter That She’s Valued
For Common, the discussion between him and his daughter was a personal declaration that "love in action is the new vision."
"Love is more than a feeling; rather, it's an action verb. It's a purpose. Whereas before, I looked at it [only] as a feeling." As a woman, no matter the relationship, we can hear "I love you" a thousand times, but if the actions don't align with the words, then it's meaningless.
As Common's daughter so eloquently put it: "Dad, let your actions be your loudest speaker."
Now, more than ever, Common is dedicated to showing his love through action, and making sure his daughter knows just how much she's valued.
"I make sure she knows that she's valued beyond anything…So, I know if I tell her 'you are valued, you're loved, you're cared for, you're incredible,' and these things, then she won't be chasing value from some dude."
That's not to say that his daughter will always make the best decisions about certain guys.
"She's going to make her own choices because things happen. But I just try to give her as much wisdom from myself and try to set the tone of basically 'love yourself.' I do my best to tell her what type of dude I was and what I've become."
And Common has definitely come a long way; much of which he credits to his relationship with God as well as therapy.
May his work and his relationship with his daughter remind and encourage us all to be more purposeful and committed to showing our love through action.
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