2012 Democratic Convention: Rapper Common Recalls Placing His First Vote

UPDATED: The hip-hop star tells THR that negative feelings about George W. Bush motivated him to hit the polls for the first time in 2004.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Following Michelle Obama's raved-about speech at the Democratic National Convention, partygoers at Charlotte's The Fillmore were treated to a lengthy set from rapper Common.

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The artist made the trip to the Queen City not only to support President Obama but to lend his support to the RIAA's Musicians on Call program, which brings performers to the bedsides of ailing patients.  

"When I found out exactly what they were about, I was really enthused and inspired about it," Common tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I'm an artist, and I feel like art can not only inspire, it can heal, it can soothe people. It has done that for me, so I know it does it for others, as well."

He adds, "To be here during the Democratic National Convention and being able to support the president is something I'm adamant about."

Asked about his first time hitting the polls as a registered voter, Common admits that he didn't cast his first ballot until 2004, when incumbent George W. Bush ran against Democrat John Kerry.

"I really, at one point, didn't have so much faith in the political process," he says. "It was 2004, and it was George Bush. I just felt that I had to do something because I felt like our country was not being directed in the right way, and I decided to place my vote."

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Interestingly, will.i.am and Rosario Dawson -- active supporters of the Democratic Party at the DNC -- also tell THR that 2004 marked their first time voting. will.i.am confesses that the fear of Bush returning to the Oval Office was also his motivation to get to the polls, while Dawson credits her own organization, Voto Latino.

Asked whether he has stronger faith in the U.S.' political system today, Common says: "Yes, I do. I actually do have more faith in it, and I know that it's so impactful. We have to affect the world in many different ways. We can do it through politics, we can do it through activism, we can do it through music, we can do it through philanthropic work."

Email: Sophie.Schillaci@thr.com; Twitter: @SophieSchillaci