Common, a rapper and Academy Award-winning artist, was booted from speaking at Keane University, despite the college’s Monday night tweet saying he would appear.
The decision was apparently due to the objections of NJ State Police, who are still riled over his 2000 tune, “A Song for Assata” about the fugitive Joanne Chesimard. Chesimard, believed to be in Cuba, was convicted in 1977 of killing NJ State Trooper Werner Foerster in 1973.
“While we respect Common’s talent, Kean is pursuing other speaker options,” at its graduation ceremony at Newark’s Prudential Center on May 21, university spokeswoman Susan Kayne said in a statement. “The information about Common as a potential speaker was released prematurely. That’s the extent of the story. We look forward to officially announcing our commencement speakers very soon,” she added.
Common’s publicist and manager did not respond to requests for comment. Common and John Legend recently won an Academy Award this year for their “Selma” song, “Glory.”