“Oh lovely, White House,” she said about Common’s “A Letter to the Law” rap-poem, which was transcribed and published in yesterday’s Daily Caller. The 2007 rap includes threats to kill police and a call to kill then-President George W. Bush.
“Them dick boys got a lock of cock in them
“My people on the block got a lot of [Tu]pac in them…
“Burn a Bush cos’ for peace …”
The planned event, titled “An Evening of Poetry,” may prove especially awkward for the White House, because the President is scheduled to deliver opening remarks at the event, which is to be streamed out via the Internet.
Officials at the First Lady’s office in the White House declined to comment.
The rapper, Lonnie Rashid Lynn, who now goes by the name “Common,” is a long-time booster of Obama. Before the election, he attended events with Obama at Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church in Chicago. Common is considered by his fans to be one of the best poets to emerge from Obama’s adopted home town.
Presidential candidate Bill Clinton faced a similar political problem in the spring of 1992, when a rapper, “Sister Souljah,” sparked a controversy by suggesting that African-Americans should kill white people. “If Black people kill Black people every day, why not have a week and kill white people?” she said during a Washington Post interview. A few weeks later, Clinton criticized that comment, prompting a rebuke from Rev. Jesse Jackson. The resulting controversy allowed Clinton to distance himself from some activists and successfully position himself a centrist in the Presidential Election.
Other participants at the Obama’s Wednesday event include Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Kenneth Goldsmith, Alison Knowles, Aimee Mann and Jill Scott. They will read, sing, and showcase the impact of poetry on American culture, said a May 4 White House press release. “Students will work with and learn from many of the evening’s performers,“ said the statement.