The Jeremiah Wright of Rap
"Your lease is up at the crib, house niggas get evicted. In videos with white boys talking about how you get wicked." - Common, noted Obama supporter and fellow member of Jeremiah Wright's church
"Black men walking with white girls on they arms. I be mad at 'em, as if knew they moms." - ibid
Seriously, how come no one told me Common was a member of Jeremiah Wright's church?
I suppose I should have put one and two together, since this is apparently a church for racist, bourgeois black people in Chicago, but I was trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I guess I've learned my less about trying to take religious people seriously.
No but really, the Chicago MC jumped to Jeremiah Wright's defense the other day during a press junket for bound-to-be-excellent new film, Street Kings. Common explained that he'd been a member of Rev. Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ since he was a kid (it's all starting to make sense now!) and that he never heard anything that struck him as being particularly racist.
And I quote:
"He never really was against white people or another race. It was more against an establishment that was oppressing people. I think we all can see that this country has problems and a lot of it starts in the political system."
"What I picked up from being in the pews … was messages of love. Anything that was going against that love he would acknowledge and expose." (via)
Only thing is, Common is probably as well known as any rapper, other than Death Certificate-era Ice Cube, for saying racist shit, so you wonder if he'd even be capable of distinguishing any racist statements made by this guy Jeremiah Wright.
In fact, I'm surprised the Obama campaign would even associate with a guy like Common, though it's hard to say for certain the nature of their relationship. This story at Hip-Hop DX describes Common as an ardent supporter of the Senator, who's made appearances on his behalf and mentioned him in his music. But you know you can't trust the news departments of these hip-hop websites, with their copied and pasted bullshit.
We know for a fact that Common appeared in ads for that group that was trying to get people to send in early-voting ballots for the Senator out in California, so that he'd have the primary out there sewn before it even began, only come to find out that it was a front for some hispanic group that was trying to open the border. And then, ironically enough, Hillary ended up winning California in a landslide thanks to the overwhelming hispanic vote in her favor. (But don't you dare suggest race had anything to do with it.)
Common was also one of the first rappers to mention Obama in a song, and thus has been mentioned in any number of subsequent stories about the hip-hop community's support for the Senator, this despite Obama reading from Oprah Winfrey's talking points re: hip-hop early on in the campaign, and his Ari Fleischer-esque suggestion that rappers watch what they say. Though again I'd be hesitant to read any racial issues into this or to suggest that the hip-hop community isn't tres sophisticated in its political thinking.
Now that we know that Common is also a product of the Trinity United Church of Christ, I wouldn't be surprised if the media tries to pull the same shit with him as they've pulled with Jeremiah Wright... except for the fact that a) the kind of people who live to criticize hip-hop in this manner never actually listen to it; and b) Common, like Obama, has always had this amazing ability to avoid actually being held accountable for his views - perhaps because, like the Senator, Common is also light skinted, and gifted with words. (I wonder if they share a common white ancestor.)
Case in point, the way Common was upheld as this paragon of virtue in the hip-hop community in the wake of the Don Imus incident. He was the guy the Oprah Winfreys of the world would point to as an example of a rapper who was actually doing something positive - presumably mostly on account of his teh ghey wardrobe, given the actual text of his lyrics. Ironically enough, he was the only rapper who took part in Oprah's town hall meeting on misogyny in hip-hop, along with women from Spelman College, despite the fact that he's the only rapper I can think of who's actually called the women of Spelman hoes on a record.
It just goes to show: winning friends and influencing people in this life is never a matter of what you stand for or what you actually said. It's about being light skinted, and well-spoken, and feeding into people's egos, and pandering to their various prejudices and superstitions. Being considered progressive amongst the Oprah Winfreys in this country (and hence the Barack Obamas as well) is merely a matter of dressing like a fruit and condemning your fellow black man for loving white women. (As if.) Meanwhile, I'll almost certainly be branded a racist just for exposing this shit.
 Also, it turns out that Jeremiah Wright didn't actually say that the US had 9/11 coming to it. He was quoting some white guy who said that on Fox News. So basically, I take back everything good I've ever said about Jeremiah Wright.