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Maya Angelou Disappointed with Common Over N-Bombs on ‘Dreamer’ Song

Maya Angelou Common
Neilson Barnard / Larry Busacca, Getty Images

In Common‘s 20-year music career, his songs have inspired generations of rap fans. However, the Chicago rapper left one person “surprised and disappointed” by his words on a song they did together. Author-poet Maya Angelou said she was horrified that Common featured her on a song where he uses the N-word, the New York Post reports.

Ms. Angelou detests the racial epithet and encourages African-Americans to not use the word in public speaking. However, in hip-hop, the word is commonplace and is often used as a term of endearment.

On Common’s song ‘The Dreamer,’ from his new album ‘The Dreamer, The Believer,’ the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Angelou is urging listeners to follow their dreams with such lines as “From Africa they lay in the bilge of slave ships / And stood half naked on auction blocks / … and still they dreamed.”

Common spits inspiring lyrics on the track, as well, but it’s peppered with the N-word. “Told my n—a [Kanye West] I’m ’bout to win the Grammys now, “ he raps. Outside of that, the song is not particularly offensive. (*Kanye shrug*)

Ms. Angelou is saddened that she would be on a song that’s laced with the N-word numerous times. She added that the word is “vulgar and dangerous” and that she had respected Common partly “because he wasn’t singing the line of least resistance.”

In response, Common has told the Post that Ms. Angelou knew that he uses the N-word. “I told her what ‘The Dreamer’ was about and what I wanted to get across to people,” he says. “I wanted young people to hear this and feel like they could really accomplish their dreams.”

It sounds like a dream was deferred in Maya Angelou’s ears.

What do you think? Should Common have her on a song that boasts the N-word? Tell us in the comments below.

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