Common Withdraws from Film Fest

Hometown hero cancels appearance at Chicago International Film Festival

Common, a Grammy-winning rapper and actor born and raised in Chicago, was to be honored with an Emerging Artist Award at this year's Chicago International Film Festival. However, he's canceled due to "unexpected scheduling conflicts." What could be more important than receiving an award alongside Sidney Poitier?

In his defense, it's not likely that anyone at the Festival would even recognize him. Common's audience is primarily of the young, urban, hip-hop culture, most of which are not going to foot the $150 each for tickets to the Black Perspectives Tribute. And who could blame them, considering the rapper is not even scheduled to perform? They could find concert tickets for less than half that.

There would have been an interesting generation gap had Common appeared at the Fest together with Poitier. Common would have (hopefully) attracted teens and 20-somethings, while Poitier is best known for his role as Detective Virgil Tibbs in the 1967 film, In the Heat of the Night. Each of their respective followers likely would have been at a loss as to whom the other honoree was.

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