Last night, regardless of what type of music you prefer, Common’s enthusiasm and infectious energy got you moving. As our upraised hands and faces lit up the slowly rusting sky, he paced back and forth before us. As kaleidoscopic lights coalesced in the air above us, wave after dulcet wave of sweet sounds bathed us with a harmonized language, speaking an eloquent yet simple message: “We believe in your humanity.”
Before my arrest, I was fortunate enough to go to concerts on a weekly basis and those experiences are some of my most cherished memories. They played an important part in motivating me to pursue writing and playing music and I am grateful for their effect on my life. I quickly discovered this was the first concert for a majority of the audience, their first experience with live music. I can only wonder at the transcendence of this event for them. As I swept my gaze through the crowd, I saw something different and beautiful chiseled into the faded stone of familiar and new faces alike—Hope. Joy. Delight. Something pure and unrelenting in its existence, something amazing. The drums shook us with a rumbling groove, pounding, sizzling—bright and powerful. The pianos danced with distinct steps—spinning, cascading like silver waterfalls—in elegant unison, giving vital breath to the songs. The warm bass hypnotized; it slithered, it popped, it shimmered with flashes of funk and hip-hop—flares of an elusive, yet undeniable blaze burning deep within a divine mix of skill and creativity.
This intricate, professional production was performed for us. Not for money—he wasn’t hawking merchandise or albums. Not for fame or notoriety—he’s already famous and well-known. His passion for us, for our lives and futures, led him to that platform. And when he exploded from backstage, a bass blast burst through the air, hitting hundreds of unsuspecting chests with invisible fists, and walls slowly melted away, and dead cages opened, and elation exorcised sorrow from countless hearts, and in those all-too-short moments, we were free.
Music is everything and I don’t say that because I am a musician—I say it because I am Human. Last night, beneath the sliver of a crescent moon, when Common and Scott and Joel and everyone that showed us the profound honor and respect of having our scarred and weary backs talked to us as equals, we were Human. Not convicts or criminals or prisoners—we were Human. Because we are Human, and always will be.