RSS
The 'fake outrage' over rapper Common's White House performance
The rapper performed at a White House poetry event Wednesday night — after a days-long spat over his more provocative lyrics
The rapper Common performs at an Obama rally in Cleveland on Halloween in 2010: The White House's invitation to Common to perform whipped conservative critics into a frenzy this week.
The rapper Common performs at an Obama rally in Cleveland on Halloween in 2010: The White House's invitation to Common to perform whipped conservative critics into a frenzy this week.
J.D. Pooley/Getty Images
T

he video: Despite the "fake outrage" of some on the Right, the Grammy-winning rapper and onetime Gap spokesperson Common performed at a White House poetry event Wednesday night. (See the video below). The kerfuffle began earlier this week, when The Daily Caller published some of Common's more violent lyrics, which include references to battling police with an uzi gun, and burning former President George W. Bush. Fox News called the rapper "vile," Karl Rove deemed him a "thug," and Sarah Palin weighed in via Twitter. Now that Common has performed, can we put this behind us, or will Common's poetry jam haunt Obama in his bid for re-election?
The reaction:
Common performed and "somehow, the Earth kept turning," says Dan Zak in The Washington Post. But the "punditry's snit" leaves lingering questions: "Is an invitation to the White House an endorsement of an artist's entire oeuvre?" Liberals say the president is going to run on his values in 2012, says Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, but what are the values in "last night's poetry reading from... a rapper that celebrated a convicted cop-killer"? Oh come now, that "ploy won't work this time," says Jamal Simmons at The Root. "The American people are much more concerned about getting paid to work than a poet's verse." Besides, Common isn't the stereotypical misogynistic rapper, he's "one of the most community-focused rappers," and his lyrics aim to stimulate positive behavior. Watch him at the White House:

 

 

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week