In addition to working behind the scenes, Common makes a “cameo” on the show, appearing in three episodes as an imam of a local mosque. “I really enjoyed it, but this is about Lena [Waithe's] vision and her artistry and brilliance,” he gushed. “This is about the talented actors [in the cast], from Jason Mitchell to Ntare [Mwine]. The world doesn't know their names, but they will. It’s about being able to give Chicago actors, light directors, location scouts, makeup artists, people from my city, an opportunity. It’s really fulfilling.”
While speaking to the need for inclusion and representation, Common went on to share his thoughts on women and men opening up about sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry, and beyond. The last two months alone have seen allegations brought against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Brett Ratner, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, among other powerful men.
“I think anybody who experienced abuse or harassment deserves to be heard,” he said of women and men vocalizing their experiences. “I believe that a change in the shift in the culture of men and women and sexual abuse -- and anybody that’s being abused or harassed -- the change in that culture, the cleansing, needed to happen. And it’s happening.”
Despite knowing Simmons for several years, Common's opinion on confronting harassment and abuse doesn't change based on who is involved. His “compassion and empathy" lies with anyone who has been "victimized."
“I don’t know Russell’s situation, so I can’t speak specifically to Russell, but if it’s somebody that I know and they are caught in a situation like that, if they did wrong I’m going to tell them they did wrong,” Common said, detailing how he would approach the situation. “I’m not going to say ‘go to hell.’ It’s going to be like, 'This isn't right, and you have to correct it.’ We all have issues, but that issue is something that you have to address. And if a friend did that, I’m going to tell him 'This isn’t acceptable.' I don’t care who it is.”
“Any family member, somebody I love dearly, you have to be able to tell someone that you love dearly that they did wrong,” he continued. “That’s what standing up is about. Standing up against the natural opposition that you know everybody else is standing up against, that’s good. But to able to stand up in a situation when your life could be in jeopardy, your career could be in jeopardy, going against somebody you care about? That’s standing up.”