Common is feeling extreme gratitude after being honored with the Newcomer Award at Black Theatre United’s inaugural United Gala.
The Emmy, Grammy and Academy Award-winning rapper made his Broadway debut in the show Between Riverside and Crazy at the end of 2022. While he has yet to become an EGOT winner (which would include a Tony Award), Common is not too far off with his newest accolade from BTU, which aims to honor “trailblazing leaders in Black theatre who are inspiring the next generation of Black theatre professionals.”
Taking to Instagram on Tuesday (October 31), the multi-hyphenate reflected on the moment that has been years in the making.
“Last night I was really happy and grateful to have been honored with the Newcomer Award at (BTU) @blacktheatreunited Honoree Gala,” he began. “Receiving this award is a great privilege to me as, from a young age, I have always aspired to do theatre. This year those dreams came true when I was given the opportunity to star alongside Stephen McKinley Henderson @stephenmckinleyhenderson in ‘Between Riverside and Crazy’ on Broadway.”
He continued: “Being honored alongside amazing individuals such as Samuel L Jackson @samuelljackson and LaTanya Richardson Jackson @ltjackson_ , Kandi Buruss @kandi , Dr Indira Etwaroo @indiraetwaroo and Dr N Anthony and Robyn Coles is so inspiring and it is a huge privilege to be witness to all the creativity and love that all the honorees and everyone at BTU inspires.”
“Seeing the ways that BTU is opening doors for young aspiring black actors and creators in theatre is amazing and I’m looking forward to seeing what more I can do to bring more black and brown people to the theatre in the future,” he concluded. “Thank you BTU for opening those doors, we honour you!”
Between Riverside and Crazy follows an ex-cop and his paroled son as they try to keep ownership of their rent-controlled apartment in the Upper West Side. Common stars as the son Junior.
“It’s been inspiring. It’s been a lot of fun it’s been really hard work it’s been one of those things where I always loved theater and dreamed being a part of theater,” he told local New York outlet Pix 11 in December.
“What I love about Junior is that he’s not just one-dimensional. He really has a lot to him but a lot of people could look at this person the way we do like, ‘Ok this dude was locked up, he was on dope, he ain’t gonna never be nothing,’ but that’s not who Junior is.”
When it was first announced that Common would play the role of Junior, he echoed these sentiments on Instagram and said this opportunity had been a dream for years.
“This has been a dream of mine for a very long time to act in a play, to do theater, and to be a part of a theater company,” Common wrote. “I am supremely grateful and overwhelmingly inspired to be a part of Between Riverside and Crazy. I can’t wait to begin this process and to live this journey.”
He added: “When I got this role, I called my mother like I had gotten my first record contract. Haha! It was that much joy.”
As previously mentioned, the role will now make Common eligible for EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) status. In 2015, Common and John Legend won a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song and an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Glory” from the 2014 film Selma.
He also won an Emmy Award in 2016 for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for “Letter To The Free,” which he contributed to Ava DuVernay documentary 13th. As a result, Common became the first rapper in history to win an Emmy, Grammy and Oscar.