May 11, 2011


Common Controversy Comes to White House Poetry Night (Jake Tapper, May 11, 2011, ABC News)

New Jersey State Trooper Dave Jones could hardly believe it.

An official from the White House had called him to find out more about his objections to the participation of the hip hop artist “Common” in White House poetry night, and the official had never heard of Joanne Chesimard.

Common celebrated Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, in his song "A Song for Assata,” one of a handful of works that have this week been criticized with his invitation to the White House. Common is a fairly mainstream hip hop artist, but he has voiced opinions that members of law enforcement and others find offensive.

Jones, a 33-year veteran and president of the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association, explained to the White House official – whom he wouldn’t name – who Joanne Chesmard is.

“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 told ABC News Wednesday morning. “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.” [...]

In a Def Poetry Jam poem, Common said, “flyers say ‘free Mumia’ on my freezer,” a reference to cause célèbre Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981, whose supporters maintain his innocence.

Jones doesn’t like Common, but his main issue with Common coming to the White House, he says, is that this is Police Week in Washington, DC. In a vigil on Friday, Jones will add the name of a fallen trooper -- Marc Castellano, 29, hit by a car in June 2010 – to the Law Enforcement Memorial.

“Of all the times for the president to have this nitwit in the White House reading his vitriolic nonsense…” Jones says, his voice trailing off.

Mr. Jones ought not take it so personally, the nitwit holds Mr. Obama's own father in contempt too:
TOUCH: This is a lyric from the track ‘Heat’ on your ‘Like Water For Chocolate’ album: "State senators, life twirls, most sell out – like a dread with a white girl." Explain please.

COMMON: Rastafarianism is a black culture. When you see dreadlocked dudes with white girls that’s like they going against what the dreadlock’s purpose was. The dreadlock was a symbol of black love and the black people gettin’ to a certain level. In America we’ve got a lot of dreadlocked dudes and all you see them with is white girls. I don’t think there’s anything the matter with somebody loving somebody from another race but it’s almost like a stereotype that if you’ve got dreadlocks you go out with a white girl. I just feel like, as black men, we do have to be aware that, yo, every time we step out with some woman it’s setting an example for our daughters and it’s also representing something for our mothers. If you can’t really love your own, how can you really love others?

TOUCH: So you don’t agree with mixed race relationships?

COMMON: I disagree with them. It's a lack of self-love. It's a problem.

TOUCH: Have you ever dated outside your race?

COMMON: Nah, not dated [giggles].

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Posted by at May 11, 2011 5:38 PM

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