Posted by | Ray Cornelius

If you haven’t noticed by now, Common is more than just a hip hop star but a multi-facated entertainer.

Over the last few years he has carefully expanded his portfolio to include book author and actor with a string of hit films including Smoking Aces, New Year’s Eve  and Just Wright  opposite fellow rapper/actress Queen Latifah.

Lately the Chicago-bred lyricist has been appearing in the AMC show Hell on Wheels where he plays a freed slave Elam Ferguson. The show is now in its second season and his character is coming to terms with his new found freedom.

Common recently talked to theGrio about the show and the burden he feels that he carries playing such a character.

“I really do feel a responsibility playing Elam Ferguson, who is an African American or black man of that time, and is really strong and intelligent and a leader,” Common told theGrio’s entertainment editor, Chris Witherspoon. “During the scenes where I get to speak up for Elam and black people I definitely feel like it’s necessary. It’s a statement for a human being to say “hey I wanna stand up for myself and I deserve to be respected the same way you do.”

You can catch Common in theaters now in the new film The Odd Life of Timothy Green. He plays a soccer coach alongside Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton and CJ Adams.