10 Questions for Common

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on March 26, 2019
From the WebMD Archives

10 Questions for Common

photo of Common

Common, 47, Los Angeles and Brooklyn

Grammy, Academy, and Golden Globe award-winning actor and musician; activist

1. Your new memoir, Let Love Have the Last Word, talks about using love and mindfulness to take control of your life. What drew you to the idea of love?

For the past 2 years, it feels like there’s been clouds hanging over us. I started thinking about what I was relying on to keep me in an optimistic space and keep my thoughts positive. It was love. I wanted to share my stories and talk about the ways I’ve learned to apply love to my life. There are places I haven’t really succeeded, but I’m practicing. Love is a practice.
2. Which places are you still working on?

One is relationships. I like being in love, and I love partnership. But what I discovered about myself -- and this came through therapy and reading and mindfulness -- is I sometimes bring a lot of my childhood trauma into my present relationships.

3. You have a daughter, Omoye Assata Lynn, who’s 21. What have you learned from being a father?

Recently I had a real good talk with my daughter. She broke down some things that were eye-opening. As much as I thought I was being a great father, in some aspects she didn’t feel that way. I had to respect that. I had to be humble and listen and recognize love is a two-way experience.

4. What’s your approach to staying healthy?

I eat a pretty disciplined diet. I eat fish and vegetables, mostly. I don’t eat any meat. Don’t get me wrong: There are times when I’m with my friends and I drink wine. And I’ll eat my french fries. I make sure I balance things out.

5. What’s one of your best health habits?

I go to juice bars daily, whatever city I’m in. My juice bar in LA is Moon Juice -- I go there like every day! I get something called Blue Moon Protein. It has blue spirulina and coconut water. And I get turmeric with black pepper and cayenne.

6. Do you like working out?

I look forward to my workouts. I exercise 4 to 5 days a week. I love working out with my trainer. I love plyometrics. I don’t lift heavy weights. My goal is not to be a bigger, bulky guy. It’s to be fit.

7. Do you listen to your own music during workouts?

No, but I love it when somebody walks up to me and says, “I was just listening to your song.” I’m like, “Wow, that’s incredible.” It means my music motivates them in some way. The stuff that gets me motivated is Tribe Called Quest, which is hip-hop I grew up with, or Kanye’s music.

8. What are your favorite mind-body practices?

Yoga and meditation. The first time I did yoga was in 2003. I was going through a breakup and a friend said, “Hey, come to this yoga class. It’s going to help.” I remember going, and it was like, “Man!” It released a lot of stuff -- sweat, stress, all types of things.

9. You created the Common Ground Foundation to help underserved children in Chicago. What type of support does it offer?

We provide academic support, leadership support, and nutritional health education. Our kids work in the community, too -- social activism is an arm of the foundation. We’ve had our kids doing yoga, learning a healthier diet, and going to farms and camps outside the city.

10. Your new movie, The Informer, is in theaters August 16. What do you like most about acting?

I get to really research, seek, and learn about humanity. If I’m playing an FBI agent, I’ll talk to an FBI agent. If I’m playing a chef, I’ll talk to a chef. ... You start learning what a chef goes through. Even if you’re playing a killer, you’ve got to find the human being in there. You get a different understanding and compassion when you walk in their shoes. That’s what it all boils down to.

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