Common bringing music recording program to Illinois prison

Common bringing music recording program to Illinois prison
Common (Photo credit: Bang Media)

Common has never forgotten about the inner city of Chicago from which he came and has been involved with and spearheaded numerous philanthropist endeavors throughout the years for his community. The Selma actor recently blessed inmates at Statesville Correctional Center with his heart of gold and donated a recording studio, equipped with mixing boards, musical instruments, microphones and sound panels.

The equipment is part of a new program hoping to create a productive environment and to teach new skills to those locked behind the wall. According to CBS 2 Chicago, the initial idea was spearheaded by attorney Ari Williams who envisioned inmates remaining upbeat and having a positive outlook by rhyming and recording beats. She connected with the “Geto Heaven” rapper who made the dream a reality.


“I know music brings us all together. I want them to be OK. I want them to do something they love to do. And I know many of them are rappers. They love to rap and they love to sing. This is our life’s work and we’re committed to this,” Williams told CBS 2 Chicago.

“The gentlemen who are incarcerated deserve access to better things in life so that’s why I fight for my city. And that’s why my heart is always with Chicago. Being from Chicago is one of the greatest gifts and assets to me in my career and my life,” Common further added in an interview with the news outlet.


Common’s non-profit Imagine Justice will also teach a 12-week course at the prison where prisoners will get hands-on tutorials in music recording and production.

“Every day they’re in this program they’ll earn a day credit off of their sentence, as long as the statute allows for that. This brings so much hope for them and inspiration for them to know people actually care about them, that can change them as well,” Alyssa Williams of the Illinois Department of Corrections also stated.

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