Common Pulled From Kean University Commencement Speech After Complaints From Police

The police concern comes from Common's song, "A Song for Assata."

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Complex Original

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Common, who is known for his work towards social justice in America, has been pulled from a commencement speech at New Jersey's Kean University because of police complaints. The University rescinded the offer to have Common speak at the event after members of the State Troopers Fraternal Association of New Jersey voiced their anger over Common's song "A Song For Assata."

The song, which appeared on Common's 2000 album Like Water For Chocolate, details the story of Assata Shakur, who was convicted of killing a New Jersey state cop in the 1970's and fleeing to Cuba. "[It's] a slap in the face," said Chris Burgos, president of the State Trooper Association. Kean University students originally sought out Common to speak at their school because of his vast contributions to society as an artist and person.

In 2011, Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly criticized President Barack Obama for inviting Common to the White House because he made songs that "sympathized with cop killers." Most recently, Common teamed with John Legend to compose the Oscar-winning song "Glory" for the critically-acclaimed film, Selma.

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