Michelle Obama Defends Common's White House Visit

The first lady addresses controversy over rapper's White House visit.

Posted: 05/27/2011 02:49 PM EDT
Filed Under Common, Michelle Obama

(Photo: Jesse Grant/Getty Images)

Two weeks ago rapper Common became the unlikely subject of a White House controversy, when pundits on Fox News criticized First Lady Michelle Obama for inviting the Chicago lyricist to a poet's gala at the White House.

 

Upset over Common’s lyrics in the song “A Song FornAssata” where the rapper defends social activist Assata Shakur, who was convicted of killing a police officer in 1973, critics accused Mrs. Obama of promoting an artist that supported cop killers.

 

The debate over Common’s White House visit even sparked a rare face to face televised sparring match between rival television personalities Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly.

 

Now Michelle Obama herself has addressed the issue. Referring to Common as "very cute," Mrs. Obama told a group of students at Oxford University why the rapper warranted an invite to the event.

"We had a poetry session and we invited young kids in just last week from all over the country" Michelle sad. "And they talked to some of the most outstanding poets, and they read their poetry in the state room. And then we had a poetry night and Common was there. He's very cute. But everybody from poet laureates to hip-hop folks, being able to mix up the world in that very interesting way, the White House allows you to do that."

Despite being labeled by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove as a "thug," the "Faithful" rapper, for his part, had taken the criticism in stride.

"Politics is politics and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I respect that," he said in a brief statement to his Facebook page.

From Our Partners