Rapper, Common, is nominated at the 2017 Emmys in the outstanding music and lyrics category for his song “Letter to the Free.” “Letter to the Free” is part of Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Common revealed that he created “Letter to the Free” because of a fact John Legend said in his Oscar acceptance speech for his song with Common called “Glory” for the movie Selma. Legend said “there are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850.”
When Legend made his speech, Common researched more into the statement Legend said. Common said “The one thing I really love about getting to create ‘Letter to the Free’ was that I started to learn more,” Common read The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander to learn more about the subject of mass incarceration. When Common heard Duvernay was making a documentary, he asked if he could make “Letter to the Free.” Overall to describe his feelings for the song Common said “This was almost like researching a role for me.”
The Emmys are on September 17th on CBS.