On Monay Common was announced as the commencement speaker for Kean University’s May 21 graduation. But the institution revoked its invitation due to protest by the New Jersey State Troopers. The law enforcement organization took umbrage at his 2000 Assata Shakur tribute, “A Song for Assata.”
Yesterday Common shared his feelings about Kean revoking his invitation with Chicago radio station 107.5, stating, “I was disappointed. … I also recognize that things that I stand for and believe in, if someone doesn’t want me there for that reason then I’m not going to go. If someone is saying, ‘We don’t want you here’ because I supported Assata Shakur, who is someone who I believe to be [innocent and consider] a freedom fighter [and] a woman who was apart of the Blank Panthers… Because I did a song about her, if they don’t want me to speak at a college because of that reason, then I mean, I still support her.”
The Chicago native also spoke on his decision to visit Baltimore during this tumultuous climate.
What I’m going to do is what I feel like is important to the process of helping communities. I go out and listen to what’s going and try to see what the community needs. I’m connecting with some of the people just to hear what the community needs and how we can deliver what resources I can get with other artists and other activists. I just really go in and see where I can help.
See the full video here.