Rapper attends White House event despite criticism

Wed May 11, 2011 11:51pm EDT
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By Paul Bond

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Despite the best efforts of right-wing pundits and contradicting earlier reports, controversial rapper Common went through with his White House appearance at Michelle Obama's poetry event Wednesday.

Earlier reports suggested that he wasn't there, but a White House video confirms that he showed up later than expected.

The Daily Caller earlier reported that he wasn't in attendance at the afternoon session, saying that when the first lady welcomed the poets who had been invited, she neglected to mention Common, and reporters did not see him at the event. But he apparently showed up for the evening session and even tweeted about his presence there.

It was revealed a few days ago that Common was among the poets that Obama had invited to her poetry session, and the Drudge Report and others immediately noted the rapper's history of violent lyrics, notably directed at police officers. He's also rapped his advice to "Burn a Bush," a reference to President George W. Bush.

Among those critical of the invitation were Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Beck ridiculed the White House invitation Wednesday morning on his radio show, for example, by saying, sarcastically, "The president and the first lady, of course -- of course -- are not anti-cop."

Limbaugh on Wednesday called Common an "artiste" and suggested that only uneducated rubes would dare criticize his lyrics. He was also being sarcastic.

Hannity, on his Fox News TV show Tuesday night, went through a litany of Common's alleged offenses. When a guest accused Hannity of advocating censoring poets, he responded: "I don't want to censor them. Should he be in the White House? Big difference."

Sarah Palin also weighed in by tweeting, "OH LOVELY, WHITE HOUSE." Common responded by tweeting, "SO APPARENTLY SARAH PALIN AND FOX NEWS DOESN'T LIKE ME."

Some police unions and support groups have also objected to the invitation.

<p>Rapper Common arrives at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, January 31, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>