Opening Night Sponsor
Seasonal Media Partner
This year's Opening Night Concert will feature socially-conscious hip hop performer and actor Common. As a GRAMMY-award winning artist, Common has become a prominent voice in hip hop's new millennium renaissance.
"An artist’s duty is to reflect the times." - Nina Simone
The rapper/poet/actor/activist COMMON has embodied this statement his whole career. From his '90s breakout in underground progressive hip hop, through mainstream success with the Soulquarians, and on to Hollywood stardom and beyond, he has remained an eloquent narrator of the injustices, challenges, conflicts, and hopes of his cultural moment. His early records stand among the strongest and most insistent answers to the rise of gangster rap, embracing the musical lineage from soul, funk, and afrobeat to contemporary hip hop, with poetry that is part venomous battle rapper and part Maya Angelou. 2000's Like Water for Chocolate is one of the great Soulquarian releases, made the same year as D'Angelo's Voodoo and Erykah Badu's Mama's Gun, executive produced by Questlove with contributions by J Dilla. And those who came to the bandshell last August to see the Oscar-winning drama Selma were witness to his performance as Civil Rights Movement leader James Bevel—in addition to co-starring, he won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Original Song with the unforgettable "Glory."
Common has also leveraged his influence as an activist throughout his career. More than 10 years ago, Common committed his time and resources to help inner-city youth in his hometown of Chicago through the Common Ground Foundation. Its work reaches high school students through mentoring and college preparation programs, with a focus on nutrition and healthy living, financial literacy, character development, and creative expression.
In the spirit of Simone's quote, our 40th anniversary season is a summer-long celebration of democratic ideals and social justice—and we can't think of a better way to kick it off than with a free show by this inspiring artist-citizen.
OPENING NIGHT GALA > 5:30
FRIENDS MEMBER AFTER-PARTY > 10:00
After-party is for gala guests and tent-level Friends Members.
For information on the Opening Night Gala, click here.
The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival is one of New York City's longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals and is held every summer at the Prospect Park Bandshell.
Doors open one hour prior to performance unless otherwise noted.