Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
September 2, 2014

Smile For The Camera

MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images

Protesters Rally At
Walmart Where Cops Shot Man

Cop Shooting
AP

Rosa Parks Artifacts Sold For $4.5M

Rosa Parks
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ferguson Hasn't Forgotten About Michael Brown

Ferguson Rally
MICHAEL B. THOMAS via Getty Images

18 Convincing Reasons To Give Yoga Another Try

Yoga
Josh Miller Photography via Getty Images

More Women Than Men Are Dying From Ebola

Ebola Women
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ferguson Is Rallying Cry For Protests Over Cop Killings

Study: New Heart Failure Drug Shows Big Promise

Heart Health
Science Photo Library - SCIEPRO via Getty Images

Michael Sam Cut As St. Louis Rams Finalize Roster

Michael Sam
Joe Robbins via Getty Images

Obama's Delay On Immigration Creates Uncertainty Ahead Of Midterm Elections

Barack Obama
Win McNamee via Getty Images

You're Forgetting About The One Backyard Feature That Can Extend Your Summer

Outdoor Fireplaces
Porch.com

Cop Who Pushed CNN Reporter In Ferguson Retires With Full Pension

Dan Page
YouTube

Chicago Business Learns Little Leaguer Is Homeless, Offers To Pinch Hit And Pay Family's Rent

Jackie Robinson West
Raymond Boyd via Getty Images

Police Allegedly Assault Black Father Waiting For His Kids

Chriss Lollie
Courtesy Chris Lollie

How Obama's Tan Suit Broke The Internet

Obamasuit

Remembering Madam CJ Walker As Organizations Aim To Preserve Estate

Cj Walker
Craig F. Walker via Getty Images

UN Condemns U.S. Police Brutality

453768716
Scott Olson via Getty Images

Ferguson Protests Reach White House Doorstep

White House Ferguson
Alex Wong via Getty Images

Ray Albers, Cop Who Threatened Ferguson Protesters, Resigns

Albers
YouTube

Most White People Don't Have A Single Black Friend

Interracial Friends
Kerstin Geier via Getty Images

LAPD Identifies Two Officers Involved In Ezell Ford Shooting

Ezell Ford
Matt Ferner/HuffPost

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

Ashlee Simpson And Evan Ross Are Married!

Ashlee Simpson Evan Ross
Jean Baptiste Lacroix via Getty Images

Gabrielle Union And Dwyane Wade Tie The Knot

Gabrielle Union Dwyane Wade
Omar Vega/Invision/AP

'Black-ish' Creator Talks Race & Responds To Critics

Abc Blackish
ABC

Rihanna's Vacation Photos Will Make You Jealous

Rih Binocs
Twitter

The One Film You Must See This Weekend!

Through A Lens Darkly
Film Forum

LISTEN
Hip Hop Heavyweights Dedicate ‘Don't Shoot' Track To Michael Brown

Michael Brown Funeral
Pool via Getty Images

This Summer's Movies Were Even Worse Than Thought

Spilled Popcorn
Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy via Getty Images

5 Reasons Why We'll Always Remember Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson
Associated Press

Terri J. Vaughn Talks 'Girlfriends' Getaway'

Terri J Vaughn Girlfriends Getaway
Elise Romany

Hip Hop Moves As Strong Force For Michael Brown

Chuck D Public Enemy
Mick Gold via Getty Images

Mystery Donor Gives Money To Vandalized Stores In Ferguson, Keeps Town 'Hopeful'

Money In Wallet
Jonathan Kitchen via Getty Images

Nick Cannon: I Like A Woman Who 'Knows' What She Wants

Nick Cannon
HelloBeautiful.com

WATCH
SWV Singer Discovers Devastating News

Swv
WE TV

Beyonce Holds A Chanel #Surfbort In CR Fashion Book

Beyonce Fashion Book Cover
Pierre Debusschere

Colbert: Why Can't Black People Can't Be More Like Cliven Bundy?

Colbert Ferguson Cliven Bundy
Comedy Central

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 4 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."