Common Speaks On Racism, Revisits White House Controversy

Chicago rapper Common talks with The Takeaway radio and says that racism in America must be acknowledged and unlearned.

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).

RELATED: Common Says "The Dreamer, The Believer" Will Be "Positive Hip Hop"

 

13 Comments

  • Anonymous

    We can't look past these racial walls we have to confront them.

  • RTJ00

    I am white and I can realize Common is a very intelligent person and is right on this subject. I don't agree with any form of racism and if it is to go away we must first start with ourselves. And also it goes both ways white in certain parts of the south are made fun of and threatened constantly by blacks and same goes the other way around (whites hatting on blacks). I don't condone either.

  • joe5286

    Racism comes from black Americans too... lately, there's been far more black-on-white violence than white-on-black violence. That's a fact you cannot deny. I hear young black folks make fun of white people all the time. Not saying that whites don't ever make fun of blacks, some of them do, but there's a double standard in place.

    • honesthoward

      Man, we got some racist, hypocritical black folks commenting here. Today's whites are to blame for what happened 200 yrs ago? Or 50 years ago? Judging people by the skin color is wrong - even if you're black.

    • ANON

      HOW ABOUT WHITES STOP TRYING TO REVERSE IT. SOMEBODY THAT'S MAKING FUN OF YOU OR A COUPLE WHITES GET BULLIED OR JUMPED DOES NOT IN ANY WAY EQUAL WHAT BLACK FOLKS WENT THROUGH AND CONTINUE TO GO THROUGH. SO JUST STOP IT. LET US PUT YOU IN CHAINS FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS THEN COME TALK TO US ABOUT DOUBLE STANDARDS. AND THE WHITES OF TODAY ARE JUST AS RESPONSIBLE AS THEIR FORMER SLAVE OWNER ANCESTORS. WHEN YOU SIT AROUND AND LET THE SAME STUFF CONTINUE TO HAPPEN YOU ARE JUST AS GUILTY.

    • a

      Explain exactly what it is that the white devil does? To blame current white people for slavery is like a blaming a german toddler for the holocaust.

    • Anonymous

      Blacks are retaliating for the past oppression their ancestors were subject to. White continue to follow and implement the protocol their ancestors applied. Now explain who is racist and who's not.

    • L-Boogie

      Funny that you say that because whites in general are more judgemental and racist against other ethnic groups so what do you expect when blacks start to dislike you. Get over it, stop trying to flip the script.

    • Ikki

      I have seen this also and agree whole-heartedly.

  • Ca$$idy

    Common should battle Mos Def

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