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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

‘UnCommon’: Michelle 'Outraged' Over State Police Objections Over Rapper Invite to White House

State Police 'Outraged' Over Rapper Invite to White House

NJ Cops "Outraged" Over WH Rapper Invite

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MichelleGroovinCommon at the 2011 Common Ground Foundation gala fundraiser at the Intercontinental Hotel in Chicago last month.

The invitation of rapper Common to a White House this week is drawing the ire of the union representing New Jersey state police.

While not even casual hip-hop fans would characterize him as a controversial rapper, Common found himself under the microscope after First Lady Michelle Obama invited him to the White House for an arts event.

FOX News and Sarah Palin criticized the decision after the Daily Caller published some of Common's lyrics, including some that criticize President George W. Bush.

For Jersey police, the outrage centers on a song by Common about Assata Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted for the 1973 slaying of Trooper Werner Foerster on the New Jersey Turnpike. Garden State police take offense at "A Song for Assata," which includes the lines "Your power and pride is beautiful. May God bless your soul."

For David Jones, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association union, the White House invitation to a rapper who seems to celebrate Shakur is disturbing.

"The young people who read this stuff, hear this stuff, are getting a very dangerous and deadly message," Jones said.

Known for being more of a brainy poet type than a thug or a gangster, Common seemed to be amused by the dust-up Tuesday morning, tweeting and retweeting the various news items from his Twitter account, such as FOX News' description of him as a "vile rapper." He also tweeted "So apparently Sarah Palin and Fox News doesn't like me."

But Jones was further incensed that the White House appearance comes during the same week that lawmen from across the nation, including Jones, make their annual trek to Washington to honor their fallen comrades at the National Law Enforcement Memorial.

Sal Maggio, a retired troop commander with the state police said his colleagues still talk about Shakur and the million dollar bounty the FBI has put on her capture.

"Hopefully someday she'll be caught," Maggio said in in reaction to news of this invitation.

Common, who is also a successful actor, is known as one of the most lyrically poetic rappers. Last month he appeared in Chicago for a charity event for his foundation, honoring legendary author and poet Maya Angelou.

Neither Jones nor Maggio believe the president or first lady are fully aware of Common's song about Shakur, though the rapper did appear at campaign events for Obama when he ran for president.

"I like the president and first lady," said Maggio who added "I think he's doing a pretty good job lately."

There was no comment from the White House late Wednesday afternoon. A representative for Common could not be reached.

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