Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
August 29, 2014

Hillary Breaks Silence On Ferguson

Hillary Clinton
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Amber Alert: 6-Week-Old Baby Kidnapped At Gunpoint

Delano Wilson
Handout

5 Reasons Why Black Lives Matter

Ferguson Michael
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Former USC Football Player Accuses Coach Of Being Racist

Anthony Brown Usc
Jonathan Moore via Getty Images

New Lifetime Show Will Make You Cringe

Girlfriend Intervention
Richard Knapp / Lifetime

Alumni Rally Round NYC's Top Public Schools That Admit Very Few Blacks

Stuyvesant High School
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama vs. Bush: Who Took More Presidential Vacations?

George W Bush Obama
SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

Ferguson Children Sent Inspiring And Educational Gift

Black Kid Abc
Wavebreakmedia Ltd via Getty Images

Newspaper Under Fire For Incredibly Racist Headline

You7
TWITTER/Hossam

Privileged White Guys On Fox News Agree: There's No Such Thing As White Privilege

Bill Oreilly Sean Hannity
Fox News

Long-Simmering Anger Over Police Violence Erupts At St. Louis Forum

Stlouis
Mariah Stewart/The Huffington Post

Most New Yorkers Want To See Criminal Charges In Eric Garner's Death

Eric Garner
STAN HONDA via Getty Images

Study's Disturbing Findings About How The Media Covers Race

Nypd
Spencer Platt via Getty Images

Police Officer Accused Of Letting Dog Urinate On Michael Brown Memorial

Michael Brown Memorial
Joe Raedle via Getty Images

Attorney Alleges Police Cover-Up In Handcuffed Man's Shooting Death

Victor White
White Family

Study Suggests Why Black Moms Breastfeed Less Than White Moms

Mother Hospital
Ariel Skelley via Getty Images

Cops Shot Ohio Man 'On Sight' At Walmart: Attorney

Joe Crawford Iii
H/O

In Wake Of Ferguson, Police Departments Try To Build Trust With Black Residents

Ferguson Police Department
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Race Seen Through Viewfinders

Black Photographer
Frederick Bass via Getty Images

"My Dad's Legacy Is On The Line"

Bernice King
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

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

Jeezy Pleads Not Guilty

Young Jeezy
Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

Mathew Knowles Says Beyonce, Jay Z Divorce Talk Is 'Jedi Mind Trick'

Beyonce Jay Z
MTV/MTV1415 via Getty Images

Tim Howard Talks U.S. Soccer, His Favorite World Cup Meme And Helping Kids Conquer Tourette's

Tim Howard
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'I Gotta Find A Place Where They Don't Kill Black People, Jon'

Daily Show Ferguson Michael Che
Comedy Central

Iyanla Vanzant's Intense 36-Hour Visit To Ferguson

Iyanla Vanzant Ferguson Missouri
OWN

BET Suspends Producer For Making A Joke About Blue Ivy

Blue Ivy
ROBYN BECK via Getty Images

Beverly Hills Cops Arrest Black TV Producer Who They Thought Robbed A Bank

Charles Belk
Charles Belk's Facebook

Oprah's Next Movie Role Is Here!!!

Oprah
Ida Mae Astute via Getty Images

Rastafarian Student Reportedly Punished At School Over Dreadlocks

Dreadlocks
Photodisc via Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson Responds To Lesbian Rumors

Jennifer Hudson Lesbian Rumors
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Little Girl Channels Beyoncé And It's ***Flawless

Cece Show Beyonce
Vine

5 Reasons Keke Palmer Is Having The Best Year Ever

Keke Fp Image
Bennett Raglin/BET via Getty Images

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."