Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
October 24, 2014

Welcome To The War On Drugs

Raido VAljamaa via Getty Images

Autopsy: St. Louis Officer Shot Vonderrit Myers From Behind

Vonderrit Myers
Scott Olson via Getty Images

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

Nfl
Patrick Coffee

Amnesty: Ferguson Police Committed Human Rights Abuses

Ferguson
AP

Entire School Holds Early Graduation For Teen With Cancer

Graduation
KLTV

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

Boko Haram Suspected Of Kidnapping 25 More Girls In Nigeria

Boko Haram
PIUS UTOMI EKPEI via Getty Images

Bloomberg Businessweek's Obama Cover Is 'Too Cool'

Obama Cover
Bloomberg Businessweek

Get Set For The Solar Eclipse

Partial Solar Eclipse
DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY via Getty Images

DOJ Condemns Leaks In Michael Brown Case

Michael Brown
AP

The Ebola Outbreak And The Void Left By The Absence Of Government

Ebola
Fuse via Getty Images

Giant Settlement Promises 'More Humane Justice System' For The Poor

Cuomo
Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Artist Organizes Community Gun Buyback In New Orleans

Violence

Forensic Expert Urges Caution On Brown Autopsy Analysis

Michael Brown Autopsy
ASSOCIATED PRESS

13 Women Have Accused Bill Cosby Of Rape, So Why Has America Forgiven Him?

Bill Cosby
Ethan Miller via Getty Images

Football in America -- How We (Don't) Talk About Race

Nfl Tackle
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Report: Several Black Witnesses Back Up Darren Wilson's Account Of Mike Brown Shooting

Darren Wilson
ASSOCIATED PRESS

UNC Officials Failed To Stop 18-Year Long Student Athlete Academic Fraud

Unc Football
Raleigh News & Observer via Getty Images

Michael Brown Autopsy Released

Michael Brown
AP

These Biased Ideas Are Presented As Fact In Texas Curriculum Standards

Texas Textbooks
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

'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

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

Diddy And Nas Set For Alicia Keys' Annual Black Ball

Diddy And Nas
Richard Bord via Getty Images

WATCH:
Baby Spinach Has Never Sounded More Hardcore

Ice Cube
ABC

'Saturday Night Live' Gets More Diverse

Leslie Jones Nbc
NBC

Wyatt Cenac Describes His 'Physical Altercation' With An 'SNL' Cast Member

Wyatt Cenac
Mike Coppola via Getty Images

Kerry Washington Talks 'Awkward' 'Scandal' Sex Scenes

Allure Photo
Carter Smith

For The Love Of God, People, Do Not Dress Up As Ray Rice For Halloween

Ray Rice
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Macy Gray: 'I Was A Massive A**hole'

Macy Gray On Where Are They Now
OWN

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 115 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."