During a radio interview with The Takeaway, rapper Common revisited the controversy surrounding his appearance at the White House earlier this year. Common was one of several poets invited to the White House by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, but was met with much criticism because of a poem he read on Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam years ago.
The Chicago rapper explained to The Takeaway that the poem he recited on Def Poetry Jam, “A Letter To The Law,” was about police brutality and brought on by one incident in particular.
“I definitely felt that I was misinterpreted because I would never encourage or endorse the killing of anybody. Police, soldier, anybody. That’s not what I’m about,” Common explained. “So for me to be noted and said that I was a cop killer or endorse that I was like, ‘Man, they must not know really who I am and what I stand for.’ Because in that earlier piece that I did it was really about police brutality. It was based on a human being who was killed in Cincinnati and he had been shot. I think it was over 40 times. And at that time I had to speak up for that. I had to raise awareness to that and I continue to try to raise awareness about issues that may be going on for the people that don’t get heard and for the injustices that do exist in this country.”
Common went on to speak on the racism that still exists in America and explained that the only way to overcome racism is to first acknowledge it.
“During this time I think we can’t ignore the fact that there still are racial prejudices that exist. We do have hundreds of years of thought patterns that we have inherited that we have to unlearn,” Common revealed. “And we have to acknowledge those things and be able to say, ‘Okay, I’ve had these prejudices but I’m willing to get past it.’ Because we know that for our world to get better we have to look past these racial walls that we already have inherited.”
On top of working on his next LP, Common just released his memoir titled “One Day It’ll All Make Sense.” The memoir was released yesterday (September 13).