The uproar over Common’s invite to perform at the White House’s poetry celebration continues. But this time the rapper isn’t just hearing it from the right-wing folks at Fox News.
Common’s latest critics are from the union representing the New Jersey State Police. The police union is taking issue with the socially conscious rapper known for his pursuits in acting and philanthropy as well. Unlike Fox’s broad brush condemnation of Common as “vile”, union representatives are criticizing First Lady Michelle extending Common an invite because of one song in particular: “A Song For Assata.”
The song appeared on Common’s album, “Like Water for Chocolate” and featured singer Cee-Lo Green. It is an ode to former Black Panther Assata Shakur, who in 1973 was sent to prison after being convicted of killing a New Jersey State trooper. Common’s White House invites comes the same week as thousands of police officers from across the country make their way to the National Law Enforcement Memorial to honor their fallen comrades.
Shakur, who is the step-aunt of the late Tupac Shakur, has always claimed she is not a criminal nor has ever been, saying only that she was “was pulled over by the New Jersey State Police, shot twice and then charged with murder of a police officer.” Assata’s supporters cite the fact that she was acquitted three times before her conviction as evidence of that the justice system put an innocent woman behind bars.
In “A Song For Assata,” Common raps:
Assata had been convicted of a murder she couldna done
Medical evidence shown she couldna shot the gun
It’s time for her to see the sun from the other side
Time for her daughter to be by her mother’s side
Time for this Beautiful Woman to become soft again
Time for her to breathe, and not be told how or when
She untangled the chains and escaped the pain
Shakur (born Joanne Chesimard) escaped from the maximum security wing of the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women in 1979 and fled to Cuba, where she is now lives in asylum.
“The young people who read this stuff, hear this stuff, are getting a very dangerous and deadly message.”
What’s your take on the New Jersey Police Union’s opposition to Common’s White House invite? Share your thoughts!