Common critiques coverage of his former pastor -- the Rev. Jeremiah Wright

Hip-hop artist Common has made no secret of his support for Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential bid. The Grammy-winning rapper has shouted out the fellow Chicagoan on at least two songs, and he’s also a lifelong member of Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama’s controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, preached until his retirement this year. When stopped by a Manhattan studio today to hear Common’s latest album-in-progress, Invincible Summer (including an uplifting
song called “Changes,” which he describes as perfect background music
for an Obama victory speech), the Chi-Town MC shared his thoughts on the recent media firestorm surrounding Wright.

“Obviously, the media has an agenda,” Common said. “I don’t follow what the media says. I’m a thinker for myself. And I just encourage people to be objective: When you’re watching, use your inner eye and really try to watch the person and see what you think about them. Because you can never really capture a person in the media blitz.”

Common added that he feels Wright is more than the sum of his sound bites. “I may not agree with people that I love, but if we understand, that what’s important. I’ve been going to that church since I was eight years old. So what he’s doing is giving people an understanding of a man’s perspective that grew up in the era of racial prejudice and has since progressed. The only way we’re going to progress is not judging and not quickly becoming offended. Just because somebody believes in something different from you don’t make them against you.”

For more on Invincible Summer, check EW’s summer music preview coverage in print next month.

addCredit(“Christian Lantry”)

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  • rebecca

    if a white pastor had said these words we he would be led to the slaughter house as he was speaking so why is it ok for him to say these hateful racial words

    • Chief MacD

      Why can he get away from it? Simple… He’s black. The black race in America is given many, MANY allowances that, in no way, shape or form, are allowed to NON-blacks. They are allowed to have their own colleges (and other forms of “higher learning”. They are allowed to have their own magazines, cable channels, guaranteed percentage of jobs (even tho they may be COMPLETELY under-experienced/educated)… the list goes on. However, if you even HINT at something similar to disapproval you are POUNCED upon and beaten about the head, neck and back with the “RACIST” label. They DEMAND that they be referred to as “African Americans”, even though they are NOT from Africa.. They’re from Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Oakland, Dallas, Atlanta… you get the drift. I am a Creek/Seminole Injun, and MY Race (all tribes combined) has too much pride of self, AND pride of our race, to march, complain, cry, yell, get violent, and so-on-and-so-forth. We choose to WORK hard, and not demand benefits or reparations. Notice please, before you stroke out, those who DO act so childishly and forcefully for “Indian Rights and Reparations” are ALWAYS blonde haired, blue eyed while wearing symbols and attire of our Grandfathers. Having 1/32nd or 1/64th of Indian blood does NOT make you an INJUN. Stay in your gathering of Injun wannabees, but keep your mouth shut and quit embarrassing the Indian Nations. If I were a black man in America, I would be ashamed and embarrassed by the actions of the majority of my race…. so sad.

    • Tuesdae

      you got that right!

  • David F., Evanston IN

    Jeremiah Wright for UCC President
    Wednesday, April 30, 2008
    I’m guessing that about half the people viewing that headline just had a stroke and fell over. For the rest of you still reading, stick with me here.
    John Thomas’ tenure as the President and General Minister of the United Church of Christ will end next year when a new President will be elected at General Synod. The search committee is already beginning the process and they’ve already asked for names of potential candidates (just email I’d like to be the first to kick off the “Wright for UCC President” campaign and I hope you will join me by emailing with a strong recommendation that Wright be considered.

  • jay

    Rebecca, I agree. It’s easier said than done not to judge based on 3 minutes of sound bites, although I want to believe that Rev. Wright is more than the sum of these 3 minutes.

  • Jennifer

    White pastors have said equally hateful things (Pat Robertson, Pastor Hagee, etc.) and they are still active and involved in the Republican campaign endorsing John McCain. The only reason there is this much media coverage of this pastor is because he IS black and in general the white community has no idea of black culture and religious experience.

  • bbc

    So from your comments am I to believe that you stand behind Mr. Wright and his comments? I am a white guy who will never support and stand for Pat Robertson or his ilk. Your comments comparing the contrasts of the two make it sound like you are justifying Mr. Wright. You think it is OK just because there are crazy racist white guys out there too?

  • Stephanie Jones

    Don’t confuse the man with the message…If anyone actually takes the time to think for themselves (instead of letting the media think FOR them) much (though not all) of what Rev. Wright said is accurate, was this country not take from the native Americans in an act of terror? Were Africans not shipped to this country in an act of terror? When said Africans were freed were they not terrorized? This is an amazing country, but you cannot ignore or gloss over its history of terrorism-unfortunately if its not Islam and you call it terror you recieve a cruxifiction (media style). I don’t believe the gov. invented HIV and injected it into the black community, HOWEVER to say he is ‘loony’ for making that statement is ignoring this thing called the Tuskegee experiment, yeah Dr. Wright fought for a country that hated him-he lived through all that…Can he be cocky and arrogant at times? yes, but don’t confuse the man with the message because some of what he was saying was absolutely right!

  • bbc

    Saying not to confuse the man with the message is like saying not to hold me accountable for my actions.
    Obama said it best himself when he characterized Wright as providing comfort for those that feed on hate.

  • harry

    you bring up a very good point, it isn’t right that because one side has bigots the other side should reflect the same attitude. This fight fire with fire mentality when it comes to racial issues is a big reason why things never get solved.

  • Melissa Joye

    In order to understand the comments of the Rev. Wright you have to understand the era that he came from. No I dont believe it’s ok to feel the way he does in this day and time but I completely understand. I have a grandfather around the same age as him and he experienced some of the same things that he did and as a consequence feels the same way. I think the majority of people who still feel anger and bitterness towards either race weather they be black or white come from a generation prior to ours. We have not experienced the things that the people of the older genration have gone through. Just like they dont understand that things that we go through today. we have to be tolerant of other poeple’s beliefs and most importantly we cannot crucify someone else for the beliefs of some one they know. Vote Obama!

  • vw

    Rev Wright IS arrogant and self serving and promotes hate and bitterness in his speeches & we should not accept that in anyone who holds sway over a congregation black or white. It has to be looked at because Obama was friends with this man outside even his membership in his church and we all need to know if Obama holds these beliefs and attitudes as well. While we can’t pick our family we do choose who to associate outside of them and we are the company we keep. To say that’s an unfair judgement is naive.

  • Jake

    If Rev. Wright has progressed, as Common claims, then why is he mocking JFK from 1961? Really classy.

  • nunya

    obama does not share wright’s views. end of story. vote obama (if you agree w/ his stances on the issues – the economy, war, clean energy, healthcare). ignore superfluous media hype.

  • Verogirl

    I have heard Mr Wrights whole message and the one he gave at the NAACP. My thought is this, what or who has made him so angry?

  • Paul

    BBC, you missed the point of Jennifer’s comment. Rebecca said that Wright would be treated more harshly if he were white. Jennifer pointed to Hagee, et al in response. She never condoned anything Wright said. She only refuted Rebecca’s incredibly inaccurate statement.

  • Abu Justice

    here is what Dick Gregory had to say about the Rev, and Wright… enjoy

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