Sunday, May 15, 2011
Who Would Be Afraid of This Man?
I realize I'm a little late to the party on this one (I blame Google's malfunctioning rather than my own laziness since I'll never have another chance to say that) but I wanted to say a word on the hilariously misguided anger of Fox News and other misinformed conservative types who were critical of Common's invitation to perform at the White House.
First off, Common is not a gangsta rapper. In fact, he is probably the most boring of a very boring sub-genre of rap often referred to as "Conscious rap", that basically stands in stark contrast to gangsta rap. Performers of this type of easy listening hip hop specialize in songs about the beauty of black women, loving each other, being a vegan and other positive topics that white liberal arts majors enjoy. Common makes music that someone's grandmother could listen to, or even a middle aged first lady. The main argument here, I suppose, is a song from Common's otherwise controversy-free album, "Like Water for Chocolate" (yes, that is what it's called) entitled "A Song for Assata". The song is basically an ode to Assata Shakur, Tupac's god-mother and favorite political cause of black thinkers and ass-hole celebrities. A former black panther who went to jail on a charge of murdering a police officer, much to the chagrin of political activist types, who charge racial bias and extreme mistreatment as well as a railroaded case to imprison a Panther. Needless to say, this isn't Ice-T doing a performance of "Cop Killer" at an Obama family cook out.
So why is Sarah Palin so mad about this? Because that's what she does, and that's what a good amount of political talking heads do. These are the same people who criticize a campaign to get children to eat healthy. Seriously. Obama could find Osama Bin Laden, and they would find something to criticize him about, which he did and they then did. And it happens on both sides. I was no fan of Bush, but after a while, criticisms take on a life of their own, and people can't separate political ideology from their hatred of a man. Common made a song that I'm sure no one protested when it was released more than a decade ago, but because an Obama likes him, he's a hateful, cop-killer loving, threat to our nation. I can't defend the social merit of a lot of hip hop, but people picked the wrong target this time.
Below, is an example of what kind of performer Common is and what Sean Hannity is so afraid of: