Rapper Common encourages Indianapolis youth to avoid violence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind (Feb. 22, 2016)-Rap and Hip-Hop artists are sometimes blamed for promoting gun violence in their music, but rapper Common is using his platform to create change and put an end to youth gun violence. He spread his message Monday in Indianapolis.

His lyrics are thoughtful and Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known by his stage name Common, never strays away from tough issues. He started the day on Tuesday speaking at Olivet Missionary Baptist Church and singing with a group of IPS students.

The Day ended with a lecture at the downtown J.W Marriott. More than 1,000 people filled a ballroom to hear the Chicago born rapper speak.

Through his foundation, Common Ground, he helps kids in Chicago find their purpose through the arts. Common admits he doesn't have all the answers to address youth violence and he knows his work is far from done.

"There are still young people being killed in Chicago and like you said I don’t think Indianapolis is so different from Chicago," said Common.

Common was quick to point out the youth violence issues in Indianapolis.

Homicides account for 61 percent of deaths for black teenagers and young adults, according to a recent study done by the Indiana Youth Institute.

"You have something to do with your life. Your life is a value and when you find what that is--nothing can lessen it," said Common.

Common's views on gun violence and appeal to the youth is one of the main reasons organizers brought him to Indy.

"A parent can tell a child something and it goes in one ear and out the other. But and as soon as their favorite person of any stature says the same thing it all of the sudden becomes gospel," said Vernon Williams.

"Find something that you are passionate about and find something that drives you," said Common.

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