Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 25, 2014

Ebola Cases Top 10,000

John Moore via Getty Images

Is Boko Haram Able To Make Peace?

Boko Haram Chibok Video
ASSOCIATED PRESS

St. Louis Cop Shot Vonderrit Myers 6 Times In Back Of Legs: Family Autopsy

Vonderrit Myers
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

This Is What Pollution Looks Like In Your World

Pollution Callout
doobooda / EyeEm

Beyond 42: Jackie Robinson and the Quest for Racial Justice

Jackie Robinson 42
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ferguson Investigation To Be Completed In Coming Months, Attorney General Says

Michael Brown
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Lupita Nyong'o Seeks Preservation Of Virginia Slave-Trade History

Lupita Nyongo
Andrew Goodman via Getty Images

12 Reasons Writer Jamaica Kincaid Is A Total Badass

Jamaica Kincaid
Mail Today via Getty Images

A Racial Disparity Among Working Artists

Painting White
Paper Boat Creative via Getty Images

The DEA Once Turned A 14-Year-Old Into A Drug Kingpin. Welcome To The War On Drugs

Black Person Angry Eyes
Raido VAljamaa via Getty Images

Will Judge Jump Into Fight Over Georgia Voter Registration?

Abrams
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Amnesty: Ferguson Police Committed Human Rights Abuses

Ferguson
AP

Entire School Holds Early Graduation For Teen With Cancer

Graduation
KLTV

Current And Former NFL Players Say 'No More' To Domestic Violence

Nfl
Patrick Coffee

Alarming Actions Of School Officials Allowed Academic Fraud

Carol Folt North Carolina
ASSOCIATED PRESS

5 Things About Slavery You Probably Didn't Learn In Social Studies

3418198
Jack Delano/Library Of Congress

Report: Chicago Police Are Getting Away With Brutality

Chicago Police
Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

New Orleans Biennial 'Prospect 3' Leads The Way In Diversity

Here

NYC Doctor Tests Positive For Ebola

New York City
Steve McBeath via Getty Images

Young People Show World There's More To Haiti Than Poverty

Women Artist Haiti
Lucie Cincinatis/Instagram

Industry Group Tries To Rally Black Caucus Against Solar Incentives

Sun
Ross M Horowitz via Getty Images

Trump Rips 'Reckless' NYC Ebola Doc, Demands Obama Resign

Donald Trump
Paul Morigi via Getty Images

Ferguson Protester: Things Will 'Never Be The Same' If Darren Wilson Isn't Indicted

Ferguson
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Chris Paul: Becoming A Mentor Like The Ones Who Helped Me Succeed

Chris Paul
NBA Cares

Do Toni Morrison's Papers Belong At Princeton Or Howard?

Toni Morrison
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Americans Are Really Confused About Which African Countries Have Ebola

Africa
David Santiago Garcia via Getty Images

12 Of The Sketchiest Things The DEA Has Ever Done (That We Know Of)

Drug Enforcement Administration Seal
MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

WATCH
Mo'ne Davis' Chevy Ad Will Leave You With A Lump In Your Throat

Money Davis
YouTube

No Plea Deal In FAMU Hazing Death Trial

Drumline
rainaraina via Getty Images

30 Numbers That Prove Domestic Violence Is An American Epidemic

Black Woman Abuse
isitsharp via Getty Images

Darren Wilson's Lawyers Say They're Not Responsible For Leaks

Michael Brown Autopsy
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Follow HuffPost

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. Most Popular on HuffPost
    2. Latest News
    3. Black Voices
    4. View all RSS feeds

The Quiet Beauty Of Getting Ready Every Morning

Meditation Fp
ChrisMilesPhoto via Getty Images

8 Super Weird Things You Didn't Know About Halloween

Pumpkins
WikiCommons

Tommy Davidson Weighs In On Hannibal Buress' Bill Cosby Takedown

Tommy Davidson
Andrew Toth via Getty Images

'How To Get Away With Murder' Recap: What Would Annalise Keating Do?

Annalise Keating How To Get Away With Murder
Craig Sjodin via Getty Images

Adam Sandler Gets Animated About Shaq's Penis

Sandler
TBS

Why Jasmine Guy Used That Accent On 'A Different World'

Jasmine Guy Whitley Gilbert A Different World
NBCU Photo Bank

Amber Rose Tweets Sweet Message To Wiz Khalifa After Split

Amber Rose Wiz
C Flanigan via Getty Images

Dave Chappelle And Paul McCartney Are Killing Wyatt Cenac's Career

Wyatt
TBS

Halle Berry Wants You To Take Your Clothes Off

Scandale
Scandale

Comedian's Idea For New Redskins Logo: A Sunburnt White Person

Dan Snyder
Twitter

How To Look Like Gugu Mbatha-Raw's 'Elle' Cover

Gugu Mbatha Raw
Paola Kudacki for ELLE

Marching Band Covers Beyoncé's 'Single Ladies,' Deserves A Ring On It

Fsu Single Ladies
YouTube / Karrissa Wimberley

Kanye West Takes Kim Kardashian On Surprise Birthday Getaway

Kim Kanye
Chelsea Lauren via Getty Images

Zoe Saldana Wants This Word To Disappear

Zoe Saldana
Albert L. Ortega via Getty Images

Alfonso Ribeiro Injured Doing The Carlton Dance

Alfonso Ribeiro Fresh Prince
NBC via Getty Images

CaCee Cobb And Donald Faison Expecting Second Child

Cacee Cobb Donald Faison
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

Revisit The Grit And Glamour Of '70s and '80s NYC

Angel

'Racism Insurance' Is The Full Coverage Policy A LOT Of People Need

Racism Insurance
YouTube / Dear White People

Exploring The Graffiti Hidden In New York's Abandoned Military Base

Tilden

Hannibal Buress Opens Up About Bill Cosby Rape Jokes

Hannibal Buress
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

13-Year-Old Kim K Answers All Your Questions

Kim K
Youtube

London Richards Is Your New R&B Obsession

London Richards
Jared Thomas

Common Craze at The White House

Comments (1142)

Common, White House

Hip-hop artist Common's invite to participate in the White House poetry series created quite a stir yesterday. Some conservative media outlets questioned how appropriate it was for the First Lady to invite a rap artist who curses and talks trash about the political establishment in his music. Shocking.
Lost in the madness, however, were the names of the other participating poets. Rita Dove
, the second African American to win a Pulitzer for poetry will be there. Elizabeth Alexander who recited her original poem 'Praise Song For The Day' at President Obama's inauguration, has been invited for the series as well. Jill Scott, the renowned R&B singer, is also attending. Scott began her career as a spoken-word artist in Philadelphia and published a compilation of her poems in 2005 called 'The Moments, The Minutes, The Hours.'

But surprisingly, of all the participants invited, Common drummed up the most controversy. Fox News called attention to his lyrical content on their website yesterday with this headline: 'Michelle Obama Hosting Vile Rapper At White House.'

The news outlet posted a video of Common's appearance on HBO's 'Def Poetry Jam' performing a poem titled 'A Letter To The Law,' and noted that his work is "quite controversial, in part because his poetry includes threats to shoot police."

The lines in question include: "Tell the law, my uzi weighs a ton/ I walk like a warrior from them I won't run..." And later he adds, "I got the black strap to make the cops run/ they watching me, I'm watching them..."

Though Common takes a black militant stance in the poem, it's just not accurate to characterize him as a dangerous, gangsta rapper. The guy has appeared in various rom-coms like 'Just Wright' and TV shows such as 'Girlfriends,' and typically raps about black empowerment, community, family, love and his share of good-natured sex. In fact, as the Nation points out, if the neo-cons really wanted to get picky, a closer examination of Common's lyrics reveals that he could just as easily be a poster boy for pro-lifers. On his song 'Retrospect for Life' with Lauryn Hill, Common questions abortion. He raps: "Knowing you the best part of life, do I have the right to take yours?"

White House press secretary Jay Carney added some much needed clarity to the debate when he told ABC News that critics would be better served to look at the rapper's entire body of work and how he's generally regarded in his public life.

"While the president doesn't support the kind of lyrics that have been raised here," Carney said, "some of these reports distort what Mr. Lynn stands for more broadly," referring to Common by his given name, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. "Within that genre of hip hop and rap he is known as...a conscious rapper."

Carney cited a 2010 FoxNews.com interview with Common in which the reporter told the hip hop performer, "your music is very positive and you are known as the conscious rapper – how important is that to you and how important do you think that is to our kids?"

But while the president opposes those lyrics, Carney said, "he does not think that that is the sum total of this particular artist's work which has been recognized by a lot of mainstream organizations and 'fair and balanced' organizations like Fox News, which described his music as positive.

The White House has not rescinded their invitation to Common, and the rapper made no statements on the matter. We just have to wonder what all the fuss is about.

Elizabeth Alexander Performs 'Praise Song For The Day' At the 2008 Presidential Inauguration'


Comments: (1142)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 115

Add a Comment

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed but they are required to confirm your comments. When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password."