Liberals Should Be Upset By Rapper Common’s White House Invite Too


I really do not talk much about rap music on this blog. 

I admit to not finding it anywhere near my interest level,  and to be honest I can not even refer to it as music.  Call it being too old, or lack of awareness but I am at a loss for words when rap blares out at me from a car while parked at an intersection, or spun off at awards shows as worthy of praise.

Tonight however I need to weigh in on this blog and comment on the rapper Common, and his invite to the White House.

An evening of poetry is slated and Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr., better known as Common, will be one of those on hand to give voice with other poets, musicians, and students.  

I am not pleased.

I looked back on this blog and found the one time I did post on rap was April 2007.  I commented that rap had to evolve.

I wrote, “Like many Americans I find the language used in much of rap music to be offensive.  The idea that music should be laced with so much violence and foul language runs counter to my notion of music and civility. “

I concluded by terming rap as “rancid”.

Granted, it need not be that way, but too often that is exactly what it is.

Now that may place me way out on the other side of where people view this ‘art-form’ but I suspect that many, if not the majority will agree that someone who spews violence in his work, and uses the ‘n’ word, and glorifies the use of an uzi might not be the best ‘poet’ to have at the White House.  If one degrades women and thinks that is an art-form…well…..I just really disagree.  If one has anti-gay references in his lyrics to the point that he needs to admit they must cease being used…..what does that say?  Should we all applaud his new-found sense of common-sense, or instead ask what was the character of his heart when he used the lyrics in the first place?

Just asking.

I know there will  be those who will somehow inject censorship into the storyline had rapper Common not been invited, or better yet uninvited.  To them I say there is nothing wrong about disallowing one who has made very violent statements from entering the White House as a glorified entertainer.

After all, an invite to the White House is quite an honor, and it should not be given to someone whose sense of values includes the line “ “tell the law, my Uzi weighs a ton”.

That is not a message I want to hear anywhere.

I do not want kids hearing that crap in their headphones.

And I certainly do not want someone who creates such stuff having time at the White House in the way Common will tonight.

Hopefully, I will not need to write about rap for another four years!

17 thoughts on “Liberals Should Be Upset By Rapper Common’s White House Invite Too

  1. David Velasquez

    It’s not your call to make. It’s the Obama’s White House… not yours.
    You call yourself a liberal and yet seem all too quick to dismiss both the prose, the message and the context that gives relevance to this artist’s verse.
    I’m also of an older generation. Getting there atleast. I’ve done my half a century. But I still haven’t left my kid shoes behind… nor forgotten much dissed and dismissed black voices from the generations before mine. James Baldwin or The Last Poets? I seem to recall disparaging remarks about them.
    But getting back to Common. Who needs no one’s permission if, when or where to practice his verse, or express his anger at what he experiences as the ever widening disenfrachisement of those in his community. He should be a natural ally. His rage is our rage, and his enemies are our enemies. Except he doesn’t say that the line drawn in the sand is held by a picket sign or a bake sale or a boycott. Yeah,… he doesn’t mince words about the standards of resistance of where he comes from.
    Nor does a particular genre of music require your approval for its existence.
    Of which I’m assuming there are several.
    That you have no interest in rap is certainly your right. Though it’s a pity to take such a cardboard view of it. There’s alot of rap that qualifies as complex poetry. …a continuation of a tradition started by the ancient greeks in rhyme, rythm and musicality. And a continuation of a culture of resistance.
    And we need as many of them as possible.

  2. mm kay. Panties in knots. Not all rap is the same, you seem to be taking over-generalization and running with it.
    First of all – Flappers in the 20s were scandalous. Elvis was scandalous. The music of the day is supposed to be “naughty”, right? or were you a big Osmond fan
    In addition I often have days where I might feel like singing about an Uzi (though I am not familiar with that song or Common) that doesn’t necessarily “reflect my values”, maybe more that I’m having another stinkin’ hot flash, or I just read another annoying blog post.

    Also as a blogger who ostensibly pays attention to what goes on at the White house – this is just silly, I mean what’s the big honor about the White House? Way bigger crooks than Common go there every day, crooks and liars that actually REALLY hurt people and REALLY abuse power, not just some blinged-out wannabee who never probably did anything in his life other than want to get women and look cool.
    But really, the White House – not pristine. No worries.

    And what “liberals should be upset about” is not that Obama is trying to appear hip by hosting a poser, but that he would NEVER invite a rapper like Keny Arkana, because she’s NOT a poser and says anti-globalist anti-corporate things that are REALLY considered “unsafe” by the establishment. You know Barack wouldn’t wanna offend his corporate pal and soul mate Jeffrey Immelt.
    So don’t worry the White House “values” are well in hand. It’s all fake anyway, all the Big Scary Rap just makes rich white guys richer. Who do you think is promoting these rappers? If they were really “dangerous” in any real social sense they wouldn’t be played. They let the po’ folks blow off a little steam thru a few songs while the fat cats laugh all the way to the banks they all own.
    I suppose you think Marilyn Manson was responsible for Columbine too?

  3. Dave Senft

    It takes courage to outwardly disagree with those who otherwise share your views. This “poet” (I agree with your use of quotation marks) writes about killing cops and a former president. You are anti gun. How does that in any way sway from your political Philosophy? I didn’t notice anything on your post that said he shouldn’t be allowed to write that tripe, just that the venue was inappropriate. I agree. Oh yeah, I’m still crushed from when Marie Osmond got married the first time.

  4. Solly

    I todally agree, Michelle and the Prez have definitely lowered the caliber of the guests. (by the way, this was one of a number of guests today, and that song from years ago was one of a number of his songs). I suggest fabric softener as a way to get undies unbunched

    Boy the way Glenn Miller Played
    Songs that made the Hit Parade
    Guys like us we had it made
    Those were the days.

    Those were the days………… (from Wikipedia) “On December 21, 1970, Presley engineered a bizarre meeting with President Richard Nixon at the White House, where he expressed his patriotism and his contempt for the hippie drug culture. He asked Nixon for a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge, to add to similar items he had begun collecting and to signify official sanction of his patriotic efforts. Nixon, who apparently found the encounter awkward, expressed a belief that Presley could send a positive message to young people and that it was therefore important he “retain his credibility”. Presley told Nixon that The Beatles, whose songs he regularly performed in concert during the era,[198] exemplified what he saw as a trend of anti-Americanism and drug abuse in popular culture.[199] (Presley and his friends had had a four-hour get-together with The Beatles five years earlier.) On hearing reports of the meeting, Paul McCartney later said that he “felt a bit betrayed. … The great joke was that we were taking [illegal] drugs, and look what happened to him”, a reference to Presley’s death, hastened by prescription drug abuse.[200]”

  5. You probably don’t like high volume bass beats on the cars riding low and slow through your neighborhood either. I gave your post 1 star and Mr. Velasquez’ comment 5 stars. Nice thing about a blog, it’s your own space to open up and share your opinions. Opinions, of course, are like elbows. Almost everyone has a few.

    Here are some rappers that someone just recommended on twitter… maybe one or another will have lyrics and a beat that you like: http://bit.ly/iMiZ2M

  6. Usually you’re much more open minded, so I’m shocked to see this post on your site. Common is one of the most socially conscious lyricists operating today. He bucked the trend when gangsta rap was at it’s peak and spoke out against it. He’s always gone against the grain and he’s rapped and written poetry about what life is like where he grew up. Common also plays characters in much of his work in an attempt expose hypocrisy. He speaks out against the way women are treated, calls for men to step up, and expresses the need for strong communities. In a genre where the performers that are typically played most on the radio are the ones who promote consumerism, sexism, and street violence you’re tearing down someone who goes against the flow.

    How much research into Common did you do before writing this post? Not much, I can tell. The only pieces you quote are the same ones cited by Fox News and the Daily Caller. You totally took the bait, Greg. You should be embarrassed, because you’re usually much smarter.

    Unfortunately, everyone in this comment thread is chastising you and no one is taking the time to educate you or show examples. I shall now do so. I’m going to link to the lyrics and not the actual songs, because you might miss the message if you have to sit and listen. Please read.

    I direct you to “Between Me, You, and Liberation.” Links to the lyrics below. Verse one tackles the scars of rape. Verse two tackles cancer. Verse three tackles sexuality.

    http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/common/betweenmeyouliberation.html

    Now try “G.O.D. Gaining One’s Definition” A song about struggling with religion, but also calling out individuals who use God to oppress others.

    http://www.sing365.com/music/lyric.nsf/G-O-D-Gaining-One%27s-Definition-lyrics-Common/7EC3E665CF18D1B84825691F0005BF9C

    “Retrospect for Life” is a fascinating song, because in one sense it’s pro-life. It calls on the listener to “start respecting life” and says “$315 ain’t worth your soul.” That’s clear nod to an abortion. However, the greater message is about self control and respecting one another as a whole.

    http://www.lyricsdepot.com/common/retrospect-for-life.html

    That’s a start. let me know if you want more.

  7. Patrick

    David V:

    Whatever else you say, it isn’t Obama’s house–it belongs to the people. The president is just living there for a couple of years and we have every right to criticize what he does in our house.

  8. David

    @Patrick,
    So what did he do that was so bad ? They had a poetry party and invited some black people.
    Common has some socially conscious material and he has some rough stuff. Which material do you think he performed? He is q socially rapper and is one of the few who supports HIV/AIDS awareness and condemns anti gay lyrics in hip hop.
    Good thing I’m not president… I’d probably have Ice T and a Sex Pistols reunion.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s