Yesterday, Grammy-winning rapper Common opened up on this past weekend’s controversy behind Dr. Maya Angelou publicly taking offense to appearing on his “The Dreamer” record which features the usage of “nigga.”
While Common claims they agreed to disagree on having prior knowledge of the word’s usage in his music, he admitted there would never be a beef with the renowned poet.
“I talked to her this morning and I talked to her before. She’s like a mother to me in many ways. She definitely doesn’t like the N-word, but I expressed to her before that I used it so we were able to agree to disagree,” Common told radio host Angie Martinez. “She’s enthused to be on the album, she feels grateful to be on the album. I’m super grateful to have her on the album. … You just gotta take it. But that’s like my mother, but I got nothing but love. She’s actually supposed to make a statement today, letting people know.” (“The Angie Martinez Show”)
Angelou also phoned into BET’s “106 & Park” to confirm they are now on good terms.
“I don’t think the word disappointment quite makes it. I was surprised. I know Common is brilliant,” she said He may in fact be close enough to be called a genius. I’m not sur. I know that we’re all in process and young artists are in process.” (“106 & Park”)
Reports of the poet’s issues with Common emerged online Sunday (December 18).
The song “The Dreamer,” off the album “The Dreamer, The Believer,” features a poem that Angelou penned and recited at the rapper’s request. It urges people to follow their dreams. Common’s lyrics, however, include such lines as “Told my n—a [Kanye West] I’m ’bout to win the Grammys now” and the boast “N—as with no heart, I’m the pacemaker.” “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,” Angelou said. Angelou said she never knew Common used the “N” bomb at all, calling it “vulgar and dangerous” to the black community. “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.” (New York Post)
Angelou is most known for her accomplishments in African American culture.
A trailblazer in film and television, Dr. Angelou wrote the screenplay and composed the score for the 1972 film Georgia, Georgia. Her script, the first by an African American woman ever to be filmed, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She continues to appear on television and in films including the landmark television adaptation of Alex Haley‘s Roots (1977) and John Singleton‘s Poetic Justice (1993). In 1996, she directed her first feature film, Down in the Delta. In 2008, she composed poetry for and narrated the award-winning documentary The Black Candle, directed by M.K. Asante. (Maya Angelou)
Check out Common’s “106 & Park” appearance below: