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Controversy Arises Over Common Performance at Duke University

Despite comments he made in reference to the Duke Lacrosse rape case, Chicago rapper Common is still scheduled to perform at the school’s Last Day of Classes concert on April 25. Some controversy has arisen over a freestyle Common performed at Emory University last year shortly after the rape story broke in the media where he denounced the predominantly white lacrosse team members who were accused of raping a Black exotic dancer at a party. According to the Duke Chronicle, a videotape of the performance shows Common rapping, “You know I never get lost, yo, fuck them damn niggas from Duke lacrosse.” Beth Higgins, a Duke student and the chair of the LDOC committee commented, “We obviously do not condone or endorse anything he said at the time, but we did book him and sign a contract that is legally binding on the basis of his talent and student appeal.” Higgins also stated that she is seeking a formal statement from Common’s manager, who assured her that the rappers previous comments will not affect his performance. Sophomore Drew Keaton started a group called “Keep Common out of LDOC” on social networking site that has attracted 129 members as of Monday (February 19). “It’s not like I’m going to not go to LDOC because Common’s coming. I’m not going to make a sign. I’m not going to go protest actively. But that doesn’t mean that I think he was right in what he was saying,” said Keaton. The Duke rape case sparked a racial controversy on the Duke campus and in the surrounding area of Durham, NC. While rape charges have been dropped against the three students indicted for the rape, lesser charges of kidnapping and sexual offense still stand. Michael Nifong, the prosecutor who moved forward with the case, has since recused himself and has been charged with professional misconduct by the North Carolina Bar Association.

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