An Uncommon Visitor to the White House Is Raising Eyebrows

An Uncommon Visitor to the White House Is Raising Eyebrows

Rapper Common has been invited to participate in a White House cultural event. His previous work offends conservatives, who are objecting to his visit.

Published May 10, 2011

The Obamas have always liked to mix it up, and since their move to the White House, they’ve hosted many cultural events that truly reflect the nation’s rich and eclectic diversity. Wednesday night the First Family will welcome poets, musicians, artists and students across the country to celebrate American poetry and prose.


Artists include former Poet Laureate of the United States Rita Dove, renowned visual artist Alison Knowles, and musicians Aimee Mann, Jill Scott and Common, aka Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr.


The latter is raising conservative eyebrows. “Michelle Obama Hosting Vile Rapper at White House?” reads one Fox News headline. Their anger is based on a poem Lynn wrote called “A Letter to the Law,” which called for shooting police and burning former president George W. Bush for “messing with” deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.


The Daily Caller transcribed the poem from a 2007 video and asked readers to compare and contrast the piece to a poem by Emily Dickenson, whose work was to be reprised during a poetry evening that First Lady Laura Bush planned to hold in 2003 but was cancelled, the Daily Caller reports, after protests from “left-of-center poets,” who threatened to disrupt the event.


“Oh lovely, White House...,” tweeted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.


The White House has not commented on the mini-controversy, but the source of it has. “So apparently Sarah Palin and Fox News doesn't like me,” Common tweeted back.


Like he cares. But if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, the event will be live-streamed on Wednesday at, starting at 7 p.m. EST.



(Photo: Kristian Dowling/PictureGroup)

Written by Joyce Jones


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