Common Responds To Maya Angelou's Comments Criticizing His Use Of The N-Word

After the poet spoke out against Com, he says that it's nothing but love.

Yesterday, poet Maya Angelou expressed regret over appearing on Common’s "The Dreamer" after learning that he used the N-word on the cut. During an interview with Hot 97’s Angie Martinez, he said that he spoke with Angelou and that they agreed to disagree, but that there is no bad blood.

“I talked to her this morning and I talked to her before. She’s like a mother to me in many ways. She definitely doesn’t like the N-word, but I expressed to her before that I used it so we were able to agree to disagree,” he said. “She’s enthused to be on the album, she feels grateful to be on the album. I’m super grateful to have her on the album.”

Martinez said that he must have had to humble himself in the situation. He said that he did, but that he accepts her criticism and that she is going to make a statement on her prior comments.

“You just gotta take it. But that’s like my mother, but I got nothing but love. She’s actually supposed to make a statement today, letting people know,” he continued, “It’s a great thing, because she knows that sometimes, writers coming from different angles can separate good people. And it’s like, nah, that ain’t happening. We ain’t gonna let you separate us.”

RELATED: Maya Angelou Criticizes Common's Use Of The N-Word


  • Nico 3

    Thetruth - Why would you assume a complete stranger would get mad over a nameless stranger using the N word? lol I don't care if you call your kids nigga. "Tyrell... Did you take my bootleg copy of Soul Plane, nigga?" Of all the words one could use.... You're a home owner remember (has absolutely nothing to do with the topic), and a college graduate (For the love of God don't say Howard), there's got to be more creativity in your vocabulary. Try this. Put down the Kush for 2-5 seconds, and Google some "urban friendly" terms that you and your friends can trade back and forth during this joyous Holiday Season. You'll feel better as a person knowing you aren't walking around acting like an extra from Menance 2 Society.

  • Nico 3

    Thetruth - Responses like that just go to show why certain African Americans just don't get it. They bitch about life, about racism, about the double standard, yet turn around use and defend a word that they know gets their own killed every day. And spare us the "I beat up Krackers who use the word." Yeah... Yeah... Yeah... Another cyber commando talkin like he's a bad ass. If you called a white person a kracker, they'd probably put you in the hospital. Put the forty down and go ask a white person for a hug. It will greatly improve your outlook on life.

    • thetruth

      @nico3....tell em why you mad are entitled to your opinion, like I'm entitled to mine. You mad cause I don't like non blacks using the word, NIGGA probably one of those black ppl with a gang of white friends who sit around and let them call you nigga, not knowing they doing to really offend you and not befriend you. Out of the 4 whiteboys I fought in my life I never ended up in the's really no need for me to walk up to a person and call him krakker when I can call them a bitch, I think bitch hurts more,...I haven't drunk a 40oz since '98 when I was in college,NCCU,..I rarely drink now but if I do its Grey Goose, Ciroc, or Remy xo..I'm more of a kush man...anyway don't get mad cause I say the word Nigga, arond My Niggas. It's who I am, its what I do. And yeah I will fuck anybody up who calls me a Nigger...I'm not saying I can win every fight, but I do stand for something that I will fight for. So get back to your skateboard, skinny jeans, and internet porn. Cause this Nigga right here got a college degree and owns his own house, where My Niggas come over and enjoy life....Feel me My Nigga????

  • Brandon

    Perfect example of how we all should operate.. Never be divided even though don't agree with something someone says doesn't mean I dislike just means we agree to disagree while we work toward a common objective@!

  • Anonymous

    Nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga nigga please, since ya on the dick why don't you drop to ya knees.

  • musicears

    Dudes are still arguing about the N-word? It's almost 2012! We got the subject matter of our music revolving around drugs, guns, ice, women (in derogatory terms), money, and just about everything materialistic. Artists that try to speak truth or promote positivity with their artistry get no shine and dudes are out here debating if it's okay to say Nigger. The N-Word is not the root cause of our problems and never has been. I couldn't care less if rappers used it or not as long as the message in the music is worth listening to. We do not all share Malcom's or Martin's views even though we should all share their fundamental ideal. Rappers and ball players are out there throwing money on all kinds of crap instead of reinvesting in their neighborhoods (the cheek of them shouting out those same hoods in their music). Tupac said Nigger whenever he wanted but did he not give tirelessly to the black community? Actions speak louder than words. I have seen Common's work for black people in music and his other organizations, so what if the guy says Nigger. This argument is pointless at best. If you feel so strongly about the situation black people are in and you are a true believer in the works of Malcom and Martin, get up your ass and do something positive even if you have to say Nigger doing it. Yes, the word has history, but history is being rewritten everyday. We have stirred far away from the dreams of Martin and silencing the n word is not going to kick start the journey.

  • jeremy

    i see a lot of people saying "we have been using this term" for years and things like that. i dont really think 'we' have been calling each other that. you cant lump black people all into one boat when you talk about using the nword. its only certain black people and sadly to say its usually the ones living in the streets or the projects who dont know any better from my personal experience. i dont want to say it like that, but you dont really go to the suburbs where blacks are doing extremely well for themselves and hear them using nigga as part of their vocabulary. hell, its not even that common in middle class areas. so maybe it is a class thing. its interesting to see how black people will fight for their right to use a word that is completely disrespectful to everything black people have stood for over the years. a word that completely slaps our ancestors in the face. why would you want to even say nigga after you learn about what black people have gone through and what we still go through? why would you argue with people about how you should be allowed to say it and they cant? or make pathetic attempts to try and say it is some endearing term or argue about the "a" or "er" as if it matters, when a simple history lesson will prove you wrong. i just dont get it. its one thing to grow up around people saying it and then you pick it up out of being a product of your environment. that is understandable. however, it is another thing to be black, learn what it means to be black in this country, and make a choice to continue to use a word that is a complete insult to the black race.

  • thetruth

    I come from an era 80s, 90s where I heard the word "nigga/nigger" spoken in both a positive & negative light. I've been called a Nigger by a white person and had to whoop his ass. I've had my friends say " whatsup Nigga" & I've responded back "Nothing my Nigga". I use the word around My Niggas cause that's what we do....hate it or love it...But if you not Black and you say the word, then I really feel your playing yourself so just don't say it. Trust me, I'm too old to try to be cool by using the word, its just apart of my vocabulary...sorry boughie black ppl...I know the history of the word and I cringe everytime a krakker says it cause I really feel like they being racist on the low by pronouncing it with an a and not an er. But you know what, I can't control what ppl say or do on their own just don't bring the N word around me, unless you my Nigga...s/n if I ever meet that white bitch Vnasty, imma take her to a real black neighborhood in Mississippi, drop her off, and let her ask the first black person she sees for help. I bet Nigga won't fly out her mouth...

  • Anonymous

    you still a nigga in this society no matter what you do. throwing the word around is only a reminder. after we stop using it racism going still be here. cops still going take us to jail quicker than they would whites. still turn us down for jobs. still not rent to us. still give us shit on the job when we got one. e.t.c and whites going still use the word so what only let them use it and when they say it. it will make you make enough to kill them and go to jail. no use it take the power away from it and keep your freedom.

  • Anonymous

    i can picture that old bitch in the stuck up voice " i didn't know common was going use the n word"

  • Anonymous

    times change, language evolves. the nword has developed not only new connotations, but denotations as well.


    If one is truly honoust to himself, one could say that the N word is super negative no mather how hard you pimp the word with your friends, the history behind the word is fucked up. Its a hundred procent diss to the elders who lived in the N word era

  • F. Rap

    I agree bro ! Com does come off like an idiot to me too. Can't support the idiots rappers.

  • jeremy

    nigga is not a normal thing to say and it ISNT a term of endearment or a simple slang term. if it were, then you could say it pretty much anywhere but the MAJORITY of society does not agree with the use of that word. how can anyone deny this? yea, people say it but they do so WALKING ON EGG SHELLS because they know how it makes them look. are you really going to tell me that you won't be stereotyped or judged if you go around saying nigga this, nigga that. please. you're just removing yourself from reality. the reality of our world is that if you go around talking like that, people will stereotype the hell out of you as a black person and you're just feeding that stereotype no matter how intelligent you truly may be. you are judged by how you speak and how you carry yourself in public and in private. there is something called "integrity" which many black people have forgotten about. Nigga is a racial insult and the majority of the USA knows that. there are some black people who have claimed to turn it into a term of endearment but thats just a load of bullshit. nobody who truly knows what the word means will call it a term of endearment or try to somehow twist its meaning. thats pure ignorance and lack of education. its especially sad when its a black person trying to defend their right to say nigga. so many blacks are turning in their grave. the people who say nigga are so far removed from what black people actually experienced and went through in this country. my family is responsible for integrating schools in some states so that black people can even have an equal education and growing up, my grandparents had to go through REAL suffering and adversity. im talking about people being hung, dragged by cars, murdered, thrown in jail for trying to be equal. they had to beg to even go to school and then make their own bus system, their own businesses, their own schools. what do you know about that? funny, none of them feel the need to say nigga and to this day ive never heard it once from them. not once. i wonder why? maybe because they are intelligent enough to know it's real meaning. maybe they don't feel like insulting their own race that they worked so hard to uplift. a person can't possibly be that intelligent if they think saying nigga is ok or some kind of term of endearment. either that, or they're not black. or if they're black, they dont know enough about their history to care about saying something that is just an insult to their own race and everyone who had to die and suffer so they can sit on the internet and slap blacks in the face. even common looks like an idiot to me now. to sit up there and try to defend himself to MAYA ANGELOU of all people. it just makes me smh sometimes you have to know when to pick your battles. he's clearly wrong, but he just wants to defend his ignorance. he's a hypocrite as well. go ahead, say nigga but do so knowing the consequences. you can say "dont judge me" and all that shit but at the end of the day, you're feeding a stereotype that brings black people down every time you go around saying nigga. speaking like that, you're never going to look intelligent to people who've had a few history lessons in this country.

    • Anonymous

      good thing black people in the past didn't believe things wouldn't change. you can't change things if you don't want to. i guarantee you there would still be racism if black people stopped saying nigga, but at least we would look like we have more respect for ourselves. right now it seems like black people lost their class. you can almost notice how it slowly went downhill years after mlk and malcolm died.

    • Anonymous

      fuck a n word. and after we get through not using what racism not going still exist. what they going be jobs for all blacks right haha whether we use it or dont use it aint going change nothing

    • Powerphi

      Well said brother.



  • Anonymous

    Maya Angelou is like A Mother/GrandMother figure to Black America she is someone you just cant argue with PERIOD!! regardles of who you are you take her criticism and keep it moving and I respect common for that

  • ld

    Can't hate on her for this she's intellectually above it

  • no ID

    The word is ignorant, and needs to be left to the IGNORANT ones. Common could write, Krs, Mos Def, many cats could write other words in its place. Why do you hear it thru-out a CD, but how many times do you hear "Brother"?

    • Anonymous

      the ignorance comes the word. do your history and know what it is before you respond to what i'm saying

    • Anonymous

      It is because hip hop mirrors the streets. When was the last time you were hanging on the block and peeps were saying what's up My Brother? It happens, but we greet each other typically otherwise. I think people get way to emotional over it. We have been calling each other that for years and until hip hop got mainstream did we people act like I don't use that word. Really?

  • dad

    haha....the clean version. Props to Common & Maya Angelou for getting this settled. I respect her feelings. While some people may not find the word derogatory, I feel if you find it offensive, please let it be known, you shouldn't be quiet about that.

    • Powerphi

      I agree, and personally speaking, I find the word to be exceptionally offensive. I'm saddened whenever I hear people - usually young dudes - saying it multiple times in one sentence. I'm old enough to know what the word really means, and it will never become a term of endearment in my view. There was a time, when even in poverty, we (blacks) maintained our dignity. Unfortunately, we now have a clss of blacks who don't understand the meaning of self respect.

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