Newswire: University cancels Common’s commencement speech after police complaints

Rapper/actor Common won’t be giving the commencement speech at New Jersey’s Kean University, thanks to police officials who complained about a song he released 15 years ago. Kean University initially announced via its official Twitter that Common would deliver the address, but a few days later the University’s vice president of relations said the announcement had been released “prematurely,” adding, “While we respect Common’s talent, Kean is pursuing other speaker options.”

Between the two announcements, Chris Burgos, president of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey, gave an interview with a local paper in which he said the selection of Common was a “slap in the face” to law enforcement officers. He specifically cited Common’s 2000 song “A Song For Assata,” which celebrates controversial Black Panther activist Assata Shakur, who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1977 and currently …

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