Kean University has dropped hip-hop artist, Common, as commencement speaker after police voiced concerns over 15-year old song about a woman, who after convicted of killing a police officer, fled to Cuba.
New Jersey's Kean University has dropped hip-hop artist, Common, as commencement speaker after police voiced concerns over his 15-year old song about a woman, who after convicted of killing a police officer, fled to Cuba.
This is coming barely 24 hours after the school announced the Academy Award winner's selection on Monday, March 30, 2015.
After announcing the University's decision to drop Common as the speaker on its social media sites on Tuesday night, March 31, 2015, University spokeswoman Susan Kayne told The Record newspaper the announcement was made prematurely.
"The students expressed interest in Common because he composed the Oscar-winning song 'Glory' with our prior commencement speaker John Legend. While we respect his talent, Kean is pursuing other speaker options," Kayne said.
Chris Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, called the choice of Common as a "slap in the face."
"What is troubling here is that a state university that is subsidized with state taxpayer funds, is once again being questioned on their decision-making at the highest levels," Burgos said in an emailed statement.
Reports further revealed that the New Jersey State Police were troubled by the choice because of lyrics in Common's 2000 recording A Song for Assata.
The song is allegedly about Joanne Chesimard- Assata Shakur- and was convicted in 1977 of killing Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973. She escaped from prison and has been living in Cuba as a fugitive.