The East Room of the White House has played host to many musicians, and one of them, Common, is facing major controversy. Image: Flickr / wollennium / CC-BY

Defying critics, rapper and actor Common appeared at a White House poetry event last night. A part of the White House Music Series, coordinated by Michelle Obama, the event appeared to go off without a hitch. Critics had been concerned that by choosing Common the White House was encouraging violence.

The controversy over Common

Common is a rapper and actor who has been performing for many years. In general, he is known for his strongly ideological stance, and often encourages things such as peace, romance and non-violence. When the White House announced the choice of Common as one of the performers, some critics lambasted the decision. Lyrics of previous Common pieces that appeared to encourage police-killing and violent acts were used as examples of Common’s negativity.

Common’s performance at the White House

Despite critics concerned that the White House would be encouraging violence by hiring Common to perform, his piece turned out to be anti-violence.

Before the performance, Common posted this statement to his Facebook page:

“Politics is politics and everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I respect that. The one thing that shouldn’t be questioned is my support for the police officers and troops that protect us every day. Peace yall!”

The White House Music Series

Though last night’s hip-hop and poetry night was the most controversial so far, the White House Music Series is proving a popular addition to the schedule in D.C. Concerts have long been held at the White House, but this year’s Music Series is especially star-studded. Earth, Wind and Fire performed, as did Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Brad Paisley and numerous up-and-coming artists. The White House is also examining the possibility of featuring dance, film and more young musicians in the series.


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