common, Common commencement speaker, Entertainment, New Jersey police, Race, State Troopers Fraternal Association -

Common Learns The Hard Way That ‘Extending a Hand in Love’ Doesn’t Work For Everyone

common, Common commencement speaker, Entertainment, New Jersey police, Race, State Troopers Fraternal Association -

Common Learns The Hard Way That ‘Extending a Hand in Love’ Doesn’t Work For Everyone


Shortly after unveiling his grand master plan to extend a “hand in love” to white people to solve racism, Common found himself being criticized by New Jersey police for a song he made back in 2000. Only one day after being confirmed as the commencement speaker for a college in New Jersey, the president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey reached a hand 15 years into Common’s past to find an excuse to nix the “Glory” rapper from the graduation program.

Kean University made the announcement on Monday that Common would be speaking at the graduating class’s commencement ceremony.

By the time Tuesday rolled around, the university was reneging on that commitment.

Interest in Common as the commencement speaker sparked for two reasons: Common is close pals with the school’s previous commencement speaker, John Legend, and he was in the spotlight for snatching up coveted awards for his song “Glory” featured in Ava DuVernay’s Selma.

“The students expressed interest in Common because he composed the Oscar-winning song ‘Glory’ with our prior commencement speaker John Legend,” Kean spokeswoman Susan Kayne told The Bergen Record on Tuesday.

It was a choice that proved the students were willing to overlook Common’s recent controversial claims about how to solve racism.

What few people were expecting was for the State Troopers to push the university to cut all ties with Common over a song he made so long ago.

The track in question is “A Song for Assata,” which portrayed Joanne Chesimard, better known as Assata Shakur, as a victim. This is in direct opposition to the FBI’s description of her as a former leader in Black militant groups and a recent addition to the federal list of most-wanted terrorists.

The now 65-year-old woman was convicted of killing Trooper James Harper during a traffic stop back in 1973 during a violent shootout in New Jersey.

She, along with two other accomplices, also was suspected in several bank robberies.

In 1979 she escaped from prison and fled to Cuba where she was offered asylum by Fidel Castro in the 1980s.

According to Chris Burgos, the president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, that alternative take on Shakur was enough to question the school’s choice to have Common speak at their commencement—even if it was released so long ago.

Burgos insisted that having common speak would be a “slap in the face” and slammed the university’s decision as “troubling.”

Kayne insisted that the announcement was made prematurely and that the school had already been searching for new speakers.

Col. Rick Ruentes, the superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, told the Post back in 2013 that New Jersey officers considered it a “personal” matter.


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