When Common and director Ava DuVernay get together, great things seem to happen. While the musician won his first Oscar – with John Legend – in 2015 for “Glory,” the theme song of DuVernay’s feature Selma, this time he’s taking home an Emmy for his song “Letter to the Free” from her documentary film 13th. This was one of four Emmy wins for 13th, including Outstanding Documentary Or Nonfiction Special.
“I want to thank god first and foremost,” Common said. “Any time I get a chance to work with Ava DuVernay it leads to something positive, something strong.”
Common also said that working with DuVernay on the documentary, which explores the continuing legalization of slavery through the U.S. justice system, had exposed him to young men incarcerated in the U.S. prison system. “Her work has led me to go to prisons in California,” he said, “and talk to the prisoners. I met some of the most humane people ever…I was enlightened in my life in the way that I haven’t been in a long time.” Of the prison and justice system he said, “Hollywood can we change this? Can we figure out what’s going on in our communities and change this situation that’s going on? So I take this for all of those who are incarcerated.”
The win for The 13th also brings Grammy winner Common closer to EGOT, only needing a Tony to complete the feat.
“Yes, it’s on my mind.. (EGOT) would be a blessing,” he admitted backstage, hinting that he might be Broadway-bound.
“I wanted to go to Broadway before I won any awards; I would love to do theater,” he said.