Maya Angelou isn’t pleased with Common’s use of the N-Word on the track “The Dreamer” off his latest album, The Dreamer, The Believer. The song features a poem by Angelou which encourages people to follow their dreams, with lines like, “From Africa they lay in the bilge of slave ships / And stood half naked on auction blocks /. . . and still they dreamed.”
The legendary poet told the NY Post she is “surprised and disappointed” at Common for using, in her words, such a “vulgar and dangerous” word to the Black community.
“I had no idea that Common was using the piece we had done together on [a track] in which he also used the N-word numerous times,” she said. “I’m surprised and disappointed. I don’t know why he chose to do that. I had never heard him use that [word] before. I admired him so because he wasn’t singing the line of least resistance.”
But Com told the newspaper that the two longtime friends have since spoken about their differences as they pertain to the use of the word and have agreed to disagree.
“She knows I do use the word,” he told The Post. “She knows that’s part of me. I told her what ‘The Dreamer’ was about and what I wanted to get across to people,” he says. “I wanted young people to hear this and feel like they could really accomplish their dreams.”
Common also said the best lesson he has learned from Angelou is to “continue to be true to your voice.”
This is the second time this year that the MC’s lyrics have gotten him in trouble. The White House was slammed in May for inviting him to a poetry event there because of his alleged anti-government lyrics, including “Tell the law my Uzi weighs a ton” and “Burn a Bush, ’cause for peace he no push no button.” —Gina Montana