MAY 11, 2011
A Chicago gangster rapper who dedicated a love song to a convicted cop murderer from a radical black revolutionary group will headline the Obama’s White House “celebration of American poetry and prose.”The event is part of the First Lady’s two-year-old effort to promote music and arts education by celebrating diverse forms, including country, Motown, “fiesta Latina” and “music of the civil rights movement.” At today’s shindig a variety of “artists” will showcase the “impact of poetry on American culture,” according to a White House press release.Among those “artists” is Lonnie Rashid Lynn (best known by his rapper name Common), who glamorizes Assata Shakur, a Black Panther who killed a New Jersey State Trooper in 1973. Shakur, whose birth name was Joanne Chesimard, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison. However, Shakur escaped from jail a few years later with the help of fellow cult members and has been living in communist Cuba since.Congress passed a resolution demanding Shakur’s extradition and she remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, which says that she’s also wanted for her involvement in several other felonies, including bank robbery. Shakur killed the 34-year-old New Jersey police officer “execution-style at point-blank range” with his own weapon, according to the FBI.Incredibly, Shakur is a hero to Obama’s rapper buddy, who’s well known for dedicating a rather disturbing song to the felon as well as another that calls for the burning of President George W. Bush. In “A Song for Assata” Common likens Shakur to an oppressed freedom fighter who is the victim of institutionalized racial discrimination and a police set up.Besides conveying his admiration and love for Shakur’s black liberation cause, Common dedicates the song to “all those in the struggle,” his black ancestors and the Black Panthers. “We’re molded from the same mud, Assata. We share the same blood Assata, yeah. Your power and pride, so beautiful. May God bless your soul.”
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