Is There A Bigger Picture Called Free?
A bigger picture called free endures for Black people in 2016. If you don’t believe me, ask “the lover of lyrics,” the all-encompassing son of an educator and Chicagoan who film produces, raps, and acts. You know, when you look into this artist’s eyes, “you’ll see love deep inside.” If you still don’t know, I’ll give you another hint: he co-raps with Syd and Bilal about A Bigger Picture Called Free, where freedom is “like religion to us,” and can only be articulated as such. So it is, Common.
Common tells of that nature of freedom that is exempt from the stress of American authority, a condition that appears to take form only in a dream; or, in some sort of cybernetic monopoly. For a disproportionate number of Blacks, this admission has not quite been fully obtained yet proved hollow in America 2016.
The construct “liberty“ is what disenfranchised minorities are still grappling to calibrate , and in the same vein, haven’t quite comfortably been able to find a living specimen within our community to enjoy.
It was in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln issued his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, in which he declared all slaves in the states (anyone in rebellion against the Union) should and forever be free. One-hundred and sixty-three years later, the illume from the sun attempts to dissolve that rigid and dusty remembrance of racism while peering through the centuries of obscurity and tension. With much compunction, racism in the 20th century holds sway. To Common, one-hundred and sixty post-date, give or take a few, is no Glory; howsoever, inglorious takes place when “Trayvon’ll never get to be an older man,” and how there is likely to be more “Black children…childhood stole from them.”
Are malicious acts of torture by fascist men what made this country so great? Are those that “stole the lamb from cheap black smoke and made the whip crackle on our back slow,” just a league of ordinary men; or something more sinister plaguing Black people so we will never be free?
Common knows all too well about the “#blacklivesmatter and they matter to us,” pledge—and how essentially, “These are the things we gotta discuss.”
In Black America Again, Common speaks on mass incarceration being the new plantation. He also raps about the government’s methodology: the way in which they conjure up felony and misdemeanor charges, turn them into darts, and hurl them upon Black children as if they were a dartboard in this “big business called prison.”
In Black America Again, we hear the disparities of race still beating and the “prescriptions of poverty, dope, and unemployment,” we hear the tempestuous waves of tainted water in Flint; we hear the trumpet calling for more “Ava’s, Ta-Nehisi, and Cory Booker’s.”
We know the reverberations can only mean trials and tribulations are on their way, but despite this, despite that gray hovering over and forming up above, and that imminent rain that will eventually harvest more storms; it’s when Common “looks in the sky,” he sees something entirely different. He sees a forecast that summons Joy and Peace. For the Black population, “there is liberty,” and hope. Common tells us, “I see freedom.”