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Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, performed during the Global Citizen Festival on the National Mall on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Gwen Stefani, the lead singer of No Doubt, performed during the Global Citizen Festival on the National Mall on Saturday. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Victoria Sheridan.

The National Mall attracted more than just the typical tourist crowd Saturday as thousands attended the fourth annual Global Citizen Festival near the Washington Monument.

Part-music festival and part-environmental rally, the free event, hosted by Will.i.am and journalist Soledad O’Brien, featured celebrities and politicians promoting initiatives to end poverty by the year 2030 and reduce climate change.

Fall Out Boy performed during the six-hour show, which was also an environmental rally. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Fall Out Boy performed during the six-hour show, which was also an environmental rally. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

In spite of the 80-degree heat, headliners like Mary J. Blige, Train and Fall Out Boy kept the audience on its feet with electrifying performances throughout the six-hour show, which also commemorates the upcoming 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.

In between musical performances, activists and world leaders took to the stage urging spectators to support various causes by pressuring elected officials, donating money and signing petitions. They touched on topics like clean drinking water and sustainable living. Celebrities who delivered speeches included actors Don Cheadle, Freida Pinto and Bonnie Wright.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde appeared after their policy meetings to thank the crowd for its efforts.

“This morning, 188 ministers of finance and governors of central banks were at the IMF, and they heard a big noise and it was you,” Lagarde said, “Because they heard you and because they will continue to hear you, they are committed to the cause of ending poverty and financing development.”

Usher was recovering from a broken foot, and used a golden crutch during his performance. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Usher was recovering from a broken foot, and used a golden crutch during his performance. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Although he was recovering from a broken foot, headliner Usher still performed his signature dance moves to pop hits like “OMG” and “Yeah.” His set also featured performances from rapper Common and EDM artist Martin Garrix.

“One foot don’t stop no show,” he said. “I wouldn’t miss this for anything in the world. This is all about love, hope, togetherness, peace.”

Limping on a golden crutch in between songs, he reminded the audience to work together while trying to end poverty, before delivering soulful covers of The Beatles’ “Come Together” and U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”

The final act of the evening was No Doubt, re-energizing the crowd with its upbeat reggae-infused tracks like “Just a Girl,” “Hey Baby,” and “Sunday Morning,” during which lead singer Gwen Stefani leapt into the crowd to greet screaming fans.

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Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 9:37 p.m.

Weekend Outlook

Shown here at the 2009 presidential inauguration, then President-elect Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden and Jill Biden on the steps of the Capitol. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor BrokenSphere under the Creative Commons License.

It’s inauguration weekend – there’s no excuse to not go out in a celebratory mood.

- I’m not entirely sure whether or not you’ve heard, but a presidential inauguration is taking place this weekend. The swearing-in ceremony,parade and a multitude of inaugural balls make this one of the most exciting times to be in the District.

- Renowned rapper Talib Kweli will perform at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar for a DJ set Saturday night. The best part? The event is completely free.

- The Park at 14th is celebrating  the inauguration all weekend, but a special appearance from rapper Common makes their Saturday night event all the more fun. Tickets for the 10 p.m. party are $20.

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"Just Wright," staring Common and Queen Latifah opens in theaters everywhere Friday. Photo from Creative Commons

Rap artist Common has been tiptoeing his way into the film industry for a few years now, but upon landing the lead role opposite Queen Latifah in the new film “Just Wright,” opening in theaters today, it looks like he’ll be setting up camp on Hollywood Blvd.

In an interview last Monday, Common sat down to talk about his new film and how it’s helped him grow as a man and as an actor.

Common said he was looking for roles that would allow him to demonstrate his versatility as an actor, to break away from the “Smokin’ Aces” and “American Gangster” genre in which he was previously cast.

“I don’t want to get pigeon-holed and boxed into, like, ‘well, he’s only the tough guy,’” Common said.  Common said “Just Wright” was not only the perfect opportunity to soften his image, but also the perfect opportunity to send a valuable message to viewers.

“It’s like a feel-good movie, but I can actually see people walking away feeling better about themselves, feeling like, man, I can find love or I am beautiful.”  Common said he has struggled with self-esteem himself and that it was important for him to convey a hopeful and inspiring message to others about loving oneself.  As Common  said he enjoyed guiding his character Scott McKnight through a discovery.

“This is one of the first roles where my character had an arc, you know.  He went from being, like ‘alright, I’m into these type of girls’ to ‘you know what, love is a different thing than that,’” Common explained.

Common enjoyed communicating the importance of self esteem and working with Latifah, but he also loved playing a basketball player.

“I love basketball.  My dream was to be in the NBA,” Common said, laughing.  Common said he and his father, a former American Basketball Association player, would shoot around whenever Common came to visit.  This love of basketball continued into high school where an injury dampened his NBA dreams.  But what happened next was a fair alternative.

“Me getting injured in high school basketball is what drove me to making demo tapes in rap,” he said.  Eight albums and two Grammy nominations later, the injury looks like it might have been a blessing in disguise.

“It’s kind of full circle how basketball took me to rap and rap took me to acting and acting took me back to basketball,” Common said.

Common trained with the assistant coach from the New Jersey Nets and NBA stars like Rashard Lewis and Dwight Howard.  Common said he had a lot of fun learning, playing, and acting with such talented athletes.  He jokingly said that, by the end of the movie, he had started to feel like he could play in the NBA.  He was getting a little competitive.

“There was a shot I was supposed to score on Dwight Howard and, you know, I kept driving and I was doing it and at one point he just decided to throw my shot into the stands,” he said.

Apart from reinvigorating his love of basketball, the actor said the film furthered his passion for acting.  Though he will continue rapping, Common wants to keep working his way into the film industry.

“My journey throughout the music industry actually I think prepared me for what I’m doing as an actor,” he said, “It actually prepared me to do things in life as a man.”

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