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More Than A Rapper, Common Reminds Us Why A Father's Love Is So Important
John Lamparski/Getty Images

More Than A Rapper, Common Reminds Us Why A Father's Love Is So Important

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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

John Lamparski/Getty Images

"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.

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

5 Black Fathers On What Fatherhood Means To Them

We've Said A Word About Toxic Fathers, But Who's Talking Mothers?

My Father Taught Me Love Is A Hell Of A Drug

Featured image by John Lamparski/Getty Images

Five Things To Know Before Becoming A Dog Mom

This post is in partnership with Blue Buffalo.

So you’re thinking about becoming a dog mom? We love that for you! Having a happy, furry friend to greet you at the door each day, cuddle up on the couch with, and keep you in touch with the great outdoors is one of life’s greatest joys. And that’s before we get into all the cute puppy outfits there are to buy! But there are some key and non-negotiable things to know and consider before saying yes to bringing home a fur baby.

If having a pet is new to you, then naturally you might have tons of questions not only about how this new responsibility will transform your lifestyle, but also about how best to nurture your four-legged friend. Few things compare to the joy and companionship that a dog’s loyalty and love bring, but learning how to nurture and train them is a learning curve that requires equal parts preparation and patience. Once you find your rhythm, you and your furry new boo will form a bond that will add the brightest spark to your life.

If you ask any member of the canine crew you know, they’ll tell you they don't play about their babies! They’ll also probably give you a laundry list of things they wish they knew before bringing their new dog home for the first time. If you’re thinking about opening your doors to a new pup, there are a few things to prepare and assess. With the help of Blue Buffalo, a natural pet food brand trusted by millions of pet parents, we’ve rounded up five key things to know before joining the dog mom club.

1. Staying Active Is Key: Let’s keep it real — we all have days where we want nothing more than a 24-hour Netflix binge fest from the comfort of our couch. That’s especially true on a day where the weather is trash. We feel you on that. However, dog moms should make it a point to keep their pups active each day. Influencer Dynasti Hunt considers her Goldendoodle Aiden part of the family, and she loves to find creative ways to keep him moving rain or shine. “Aiden and I have realized the importance of staying active at home, even when the weather is bad outside,” says Dynasti, who loves spontaneous yoga and dance sessions with her adorable doggie.

2. Keep An Eye On Their Diets: Just like humans, our pals have to maintain a healthy, balanced diet in order to live long and quality lives. You might find it easy to tell what’s healthy to eat for yourself, but it can be a bit trickier to know the difference when it comes to pet food. Just because you see a product label with the words vegetarian, grain-free, or certified organic doesn’t automatically mean it’s the healthiest for your buddy at this particular stage in their life. Finding a trusted pet food brand like Blue Buffalo is key. They offer recipes for specific breed sizes, life stages, needs and preferences — this definitely comes in handy for picky eaters or dietary restrictions. For example, Aiden Da Doodle is allergic to chicken-based products, and thankfully BLUE allows Dynasti to choose from a variety of products that are formulated without chicken.

3: Use Treats Creatively: Are doggie treats the golden ticket to getting your pooch to act right? Yes, but they’re also good for so much more. Treats are great tools for positive reinforcement, whether you’re trying to potty train a young puppy or get them to learn tricks. Influencer Sauve Xavier, an Instagram comedian, who has gained over a million Instagram followers for his hilarious videos with his Dobermans Knox and Bear, says he plans clever scavenger hunts around his house as an incentive to keep his dogs active and challenged. Using BLUE Treats made with healthy ingredients, he’s able to dish out rewards without feeling guilty. Take it from the guy who can actually get his dog to help with chores.

4. Know That Planning Ahead Is Everything: If you are a first-time dog mom or thinking about becoming one, keeping your buddy on a schedule is going to be key. For example, potty-training puppies need to be walked every few hours so that you can keep the habit of going outside in and the possibility of them peeing on your precious rugs out. Most pets also need to be fed twice a day (morning and night.) What does this spell? Sacrifice. You’ll need to be present and arrive home in time to keep your dog’s routine going. So know that you won’t be able to indulge in spontaneous plans the way you might have before. This is most certainly a lifestyle change if you’re used to coming and going as you please, but the reward of raising a well-behaved pup is well worth it. You might also want to think about how you can recruit your partner, roommate, friends, or family to share in the responsibilities for those days when life happens and you’re ever in need of a little dog sitting help. You can also search the web for hired help if you’re in a pinch. Remember — it takes a village to raise a child (even a barking one)! Pro tip: Download the Buddies by Blue Buffalo app to get advice and tricks and plan for your pet parenthood adventures ahead.

5. Research Dog-Friendly Activities in Your Area: As you move about through life, you’ll find yourself looking for more and more dog-friendly places to go and things to do beyond just the local dog parks. Round up a list of bars, breweries, brunch spots, and shopping centers that welcome pups into their establishments. This will allow you to make the most of your days while being able to bring your pup along for the ride. It’ll also create opportunities for you to meet up with other dog moms and dads and arrange future play dates (or real dates with a fellow dog parent? Who knows)!

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