Bozell Column: 'Common' Nonsense
The Obamas want credit for bringing American culture to the White House. When they decided to celebrate poetry at the White House on May 10, it was really not a surprise they would try to make it socially "relevant" by inviting a rap music "artist" to unload some rhymes.
The rapper goes by the name "Common" (real name: Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.). He is celebrated by many on the left as a "socially conscious" street poet. But that's not the way it was seen by cops in New Jersey. ABC reporter Jake Tapper blogged that Dave Jones, president of the New Jersey State Trooper Fraternal Association, was contacted by the White House about trooper objections. Obama officials claimed they had never heard of Joanne Chesimard (who renamed herself Assata Shakur), a woman Common celebrated in "song."
Who is Chesimard? "She's a domestic terrorist who wrapped her criminality and her abhorrent anti-social behavior in a cause to try to disguise her disgust for America in this make-believe 1960s radicalism," Jones explained. "In 1973, she executed Trooper Werner Foerster with his own gun after he was already shot and didn't represent a threat to anyone. And after she shot him, she kicked him in the head to the point that hours later, after he was picked up, his brain was still part of the remnants on her shoe."
Common wrote "A Song for Assata," claiming this "queen of the Black Liberation Army" was innocent: "Assata had been convicted of a murder she couldna done," Common rapped. "Medical evidence shown she couldna shot the gun ... I wonder what would happen if that woulda been me/All of this s—- so we could be free."
The song also features Cee Lo Green singing, "I'm thinkin' of Assata, yeah/Listen to my love, Assata, yeah / We're molded from the same mud, Assata / We share the same blood, Assata, yeah ... Your power and pride, so beautiful / May God bless your soul."
That's sick. In 1977, Chesimard was found guilty of first-degree murder, assault and battery of a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to kill, illegal possession of a weapon and armed robbery, and was sentenced to life in prison. In November 1979, she escaped from prison and made her way to her revolutionary paradise in Cuba. Since May 2, 2005, the FBI has classified her as a "domestic terrorist" and offered a $1 million reward for assistance in her capture.
Her "revolutionary" actions are now being celebrated at the Obama White House.
Common is also a champion of another convicted cop-killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal, also a radical cause celebre. In a Def Poetry Jam rhyming session, Common declared, "We all children of Allah, keep on. Fliers say 'Free Mumia' on my freezer."
The Daily Caller was first on this controversy, with a video of a 2007 Def Poetry appearance where Common hinted at violence against President Bush.
"With that happening, why they messing with Saddam?/Burn a Bush cuz for peace he no push no button/Killing over oil and grease, no weapons of destruction/How can we follow a leader when this a corrupt one?"
How can "Burn a Bush" not be seen as a call for violence? If Bush had invited a celebrity who supported violence against another president or politician, wouldn't that have been a controversy? Wouldn't the networks have screamed? But only ABC's Tapper has covered it on TV. CBS and NBC are missing.
I for one don't believe the Obama White House's denial. They could have done five minutes of research on Common's musical affinity for convicted cop-killers before extending this poetry honor.
This controversy underlines a real weakness in the president's criticism of violent rap lyrics. During the 2008 campaign, Obama signaled his fandom and support for gangsta rapper Jay-Z, telling an interviewer his "American Gangster" album was "tight." In Rolling Stone, Obama lauded violence-threatening rapper Ludacris as one of several "great talents and great businessmen." He conceded he was "troubled sometimes by the misogyny and materialism" in rap lyrics and added, "It would be nice if I could have my daughters listen to their music without me worrying they were getting bad images of themselves."
But not so troubled that he'd refuse entry to cop-killer-celebrating "poets." That "gee, it would be nice" patter doesn't match what White House spokesman Jay Carney claimed, that Obama's "spoken very forcefully against violent and misogynist lyrics."
Everyone from record companies to record buyers should be condemned for enabling "music" that glamorizes killing police officers. It's ridiculous and offensive that a black multi-millionaire like Common can still pretend America and the police officers who protect Americans of all colors are racist. It's even more offensive that this man would be honored as a poet at the People's House.