*”Selma” star Common says Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the first African American man that he identified as being a hero to both blacks and whites. He “looked up to” the civil rights icon as a youngster, but his attitudes were altered somewhat when he got older and began learning about Malcolm X.
“It became a point in my life where I became real Malcolm Xist and was like, ‘I don’t know, Martin may be soft,’” Common recalled at a press conference for the film Sunday in New York.
The rapper, last seen on the AMC series “Hell on Wheels,” stars as real life Southern Christian Leadership Conference stand out James Bevel in the upcoming film.
Bevel worked closely with Dr. King during the 1965 Selma Voting Rights Movement, which is detailed in director Ava Duvernay’s movie.
Below, Common explains how he evolved from believing King “may be soft,” to recognizing the inner fortitude it takes to turn the other cheek.
“Selma” opens nationwide on Christmas Day.
Watch the trailer below: