There’s something a bit different about rapper/actor/activist Common’s book tour stop in Washington. For one, it’s in the middle of the day. Impossibly cool people with fuchsia bangs and purple lipstick are listening to R&B and sipping rosé on the rooftop of the socially conscious Eaton hotel on a Tuesday afternoon, waiting in an incense-infused lounge for Common to show up and discuss his second book, “Let Love Have the Last Word.”
This is hardly one of those stuffy networking-as-cocktail-party book events that Washington does so often.
When Common, who performed at the Kennedy Center the night before, finally shows up an hour later, the conversation leans more toward self-care and spirituality than 2020 and Trump tweets. In fact, according to the rapper, his latest book is something of a panacea to the political divisiveness invading your Facebook feed.
“How can I practice love in every situation?” is the question the performer asked himself while writing the book. From the little irritants like waiting in line at the airport (yes, apparently the Oscar winner still does that) to the big things such as countering the ideological warfare that can “bring your spirit down.” It’s a daily ritual, he said of mediation, breathing and Bible reading.
The deeply personal memoir explores Common’s childhood growing up in Chicago, his relationship with his 22-year-old daughter and his dive into therapy. During Tuesday’s afternoon chat, the rapper said he wrote the book by tapping into his own humanity, using writing as a way to get himself through the constant barrage of bad news and politics. Yes, listening to Common talk is like getting a mind massage.
“Love,” he continued, “is not a floating thing, it’s a real practice.” And although there was no mention of President Trump by name during the author’s hour-long chat, Common did make a plea for civility in all aspects of life. “It’s easier to be nice,” he said. “It takes a lot to hate.”