One could say that this year’s MUSIC Matters headlining act has a certain amount of “glory.” He’s known for his philanthropy and his meaningful lyrics. He’s “faithful,” he’s “funky for you” — and at the end of the day, signing him just seems like common sense.

Common will take the Hill Auditorium stage April 17 to close SpringFest. He follows in the footsteps of 2 Chainz in 2014, Ben Folds in 2013 and J. Cole in 2012.

Though Common has been a mainstay in the hip-hop community for years, he has recently received acclaim for his collaboration with John Legend on “Glory,” a song from the film “Selma” that won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award this year. He also won a Grammy in 2003 for Best R&B Song, “Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop).”

Business senior Darren Appel, MUSIC Matters president, said the organization signed Common to close SpringFest because his background aligns with MUSIC Matters’ philanthropic goals.

In addition to funding an endowed “Big Thinkers” scholarship that is set to support its first recipient in Fall 2016, MUSIC Matters is in the process of funding and designing a summer leadership camp through the University for underrepresented youth from the Metro Detroit area that will launch in summer 2016.

Tickets for the event will go on sale Thursday in the Michigan Union Ticketing Office at 10 a.m. and online through MUSIC Matters’ website at 5 p.m. Student tickets will cost $15 for balcony seats, $30 for mezzanine, $40 for main floor and $70 for front row. Non-student tickets will cost $10 more at each seating level. The concert’s proceeds will go toward MUSIC Matters’ charity projects.

“Some of the work that he’s done with the Common Ground Foundation and helping to teach underserved youth in Chicago, we thought it tied in very well to some of the goals with the leadership camp that we’re trying to build with underserved youth in Detroit,” Appel said.

Information junior Madi Chone, MUSIC Matters talent and concert chair, added that Common’s recent spike in popularity and connection to culture shift make him a relevant performer for a University audience.

“What (Common) has done … it’s breathtaking, it’s beautiful, everything that he’s accomplished,” she said. “But outside of that, I think, considering his Oscar and Grammy win, and just the work that he’s been putting out recently, there isn’t really a more relevant artist socially that we want to provide a platform for.”

Common, born Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., founded the Common Ground Foundation over a decade ago “to use creative arts to expose youth to new opportunities,” according to the foundation’s website.

“I think hip-hop now is kind of being elucidated as an art form that has a lot of potential to move social justice and to affect changes,” Chone said. “I think (Common) is not just a prominent figure in that right now, he’s one of the figures that’s responsible for founding that.”

The foundation’s education initiatives include the Dreamer’s & Believers Youth Mentoring Program, partnering on the Chicago Youth Jobs Collaborative and creating job training for underserved Chicago youth.

“I started the Common Ground Foundation because I wanted to help,” Common wrote in a statement on the website. “I always believed that if we started with the youth then we would be planting the seeds for our future to blossom.”

LSA senior Marli Siegel, MUSIC Matters communication chair, echoed Appel’s sentiment that Common’s involvement aligns with the organization’s mission. She said this year’s iteration of SpringFest highlights the idea that “it’s put on by students for other students,” not only in the University community but elsewhere.

Along those lines, Business junior Jibran Ahmed, MUSIC Matters fundraising chair, referenced the organization’s pending summer leadership camp for underrepresented Detroit ninth graders.

“Our hope with that camp is to bring together these students, show them that one, college is attainable and something that is very much tangibly in reach for them, and two, to provide them the resources, experience, mentorship that allows them to continue their higher education pursuit,” he said.

He added that the summer program will likely form a relationship with its participants through the University’s Detroit Center that allows the students to regularly return to Ann Arbor for continued mentorship with MUSIC Matters students throughout high school.

As far as SpringFest goes, Siegel said the layout will remain the same as last year’s event. Participating student organizations will be stationed throughout the Diag up to North University Avenue, and split into five sections: arts, innovation, sustainability, social identity and philanthropy.

Food trucks will line up North University, along with a local farmers market and a station for MTank — where a panel of judges will evaluate startup pitches from University students. Ahmed noted that SpringFest will also feature its inaugural fashion show, bringing together a number of student groups in the “fashion realm.” The event’s overall theme will focus on social activism.

“A big thing too, with Common, having someone like him with his respect at a historic venue like Hill, where all these speeches have been, where Martin Luther King (Jr.) has been … Hill is seen as that historic place where all sorts of impactful speeches have been given,” Ahmed said. “To bring someone like Common in there just kind of merges the venue’s historical value with our mission with his mission, and we just really think that’s a nice mesh.”

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