About the Author
Common is a Grammy award-winning artist widely recognized as one of the most gifted lyricists in hip hop. The critical success of his debut album, Can I Borrow a Dollar? (Relativity) established him as one of the leading voices of conscious rap music. With the breakthrough success of his recording, Like Water for Chocolate (MCA) and the hit singles, The Light and Love of My Life, Common has achieved international acclaim and a devoted fan base. His latest endeavor, Be, received four Grammy nominations, including Best Rap Album. Common is the Founder and President of the Common Ground Foundation which provides support to children with AIDS world-wide. The foundation is also dedicated to students pursuing careers in the Arts. As a spokesperson for Viacom and the Kaiser Family Foundation, Commons voice has reached millions in the fight against AIDS. As one of the most respected emcees in hip hop history, Common encourages youth of all ages, not only to respect a foundation of hip hop, poetry/spoken word, but also to strengthen their power through reading. Common hopes his books will inspire children to think, write, and own the power of their own voice. Common is a native of Chicagos South Side. Lorraine West received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Fashion Institute of Technology with a focus in Illustration. West has a talent for finding unique ways to express intense human emotions and illustrated The Mirror and Me and I Like You, But I Love Me, for Hip Hop Schoolhouse. She is a painter, sculptor, jewelry designer, educator, and mentor dedicated to expressing truth, vision, and beauty through various artistic mediums. Lorraine integrates her art and design skills into the classroom by traveling to schools in New York City and the New England area, motivating young students to follow their artistic passions. Her imaginative jewelry designs have been featured in Elle, Essence, Vibe, and Organic Style.