The “Common” Defense

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Now it’s possible that Common named his daughter after Shakur because he likes the name. On the other hand, he did write a poem in which he calls Shakur an innocent woman wrongly convicted by the racist criminal justice system.

This would be the same racist criminal justice system that the socially conscious rapper insists unjustly convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal, currently serving a life sentence for the execution-style murder of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. But let us not single out Common. Abu-Jamal defenders include Hollywoodies Ed Asner, the late Paul Newman, Susan Sarandon, Ossie Davis, Mike Farrell, Tim Robbins and Whoopi Goldberg, as well as the French. Not all of the French, just the ones like the then-mayor of Paris who made Abu-Jamal an honorary citizen and the Parisian suburbanites who named a street after him.

Common does not personally advocate violence. He merely adopts a character, and becomes a tool through which urban angst of the streets is given voice. Does actor Anthony Hopkins actually eat people with some fava beans and a nice Chianti?

Middle-agers, who grew up on Motown, are hopelessly out-of-touch. Why if it were today, Smokey Robinson would be doing drive-bys on Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Stax and Motown would trade lead over which label was “keepin’ it real.” Otis Redding would be sitting on the dock of the bay, recovering from gunshots fired by the Temptations — strapped, cruising the streets in a tinted SUV, searching for respect. It’s hard out there for a pimp.

When not rapping, Common stays in touch with his inner Klansman. Like the Klan, Common condemns interracial dating. Sticklers might recall the heat then-presidential candidate George W. Bush took when he agreed to speak at Bob Jones University, which, at the time, forbade interracial dating among students without parental permission.

When asked about “mixed-race relationships,” Common explained: “I disagree with them. … Sometimes to get back up to the level of respect and love, you’ve gotta stick with your own for a minute and build a certain amount of strength and community within yours so that other people can respect and honor your traditions.” Unlike the Klan, Common approves of interracial sex, in which he admits having indulged. He opposes only interracial relationships, like the kind that produced … President Obama.

Maybe Common will rap about that at next year’s poetry night. Until then, peace out.


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  • Ronald W. Carnine

    I commented at length yesterday so I won't bore you by repeating my story. But suffice it to say that to a crippled, retired police officer this whole story is upsetting. To invite a rapper to the White House when his message is pro-violence, pro-gang, anti-woman, kill and injure as many cops as you can, makes me wonder what is going on in Washington, D.C. Where are all the feminists and assorted other liberals who ought to be going nuts over the invite. I lost a leg to a young man who wanted to be a gang banger, wasting his life and ruining mine. Maybe I'm just jealous because I didn't get an invitation.

    • spongekill

      "his message is pro-violence, pro-gang, anti-woman, kill and injure as many cops as you can"

      Wow….. the thing is, Common's message is pretty much the exact opposite of everything you mentioned here.

  • Jim_C

    As rappers go, Common is practically milquetoast. He is actually known for his positive messages.

    That said, his views on dating are ignorant. But as a-holes go, hey, he's no Cornell West.

    Problem with this whole non-issue is that, what, are we going to run down a list of every a-hole who ever got invited to the WH? Methinks we're talking a pretty long list.

  • generalissimo

    "black culture" is nothing but an excuse for thuggery, mysoginy, drug dealing and pimpin'. Just look at any prision population statistics – Absolute FAIL. It's not colorful, not counter-culture, not innovative, not productive. Makes me sick the way these thuggs go about crying "peace" and "peace-out". Peace? PEACE? They are not for peace; wouldn't they "pop-a-cap-in-our-asses" if they had the chance?
    The least disgusting bit about this nugget of information is a non-person like this 'artist' being invited to the White House during the Obama Junta, I mean Administration. No surprise there!