Common: 'No regrets' on n-word track with Maya Angelou (VIDEO)

theGRIO REPORT - Common told theGrio he has no regrets over using the N word on a track featuring poet Maya Angelou...

Common told theGrio he has no regrets over using the n-word on a track featuring poet Maya Angelou.

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The Grammy-winning rapper and actor made the remarks to theGrio’s Todd Johnson after speaking to hundreds of students at Eagle Academy for Young Men in the South Bronx. Angelou told the New York Post she was petrified when she heard the lyrics for the first time and had no idea he would include the n-word in their song.


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VIDEO shot by Ashley Michelle Williams>

“Of course we don’t agree on everything in life,” said Common, referring to his use of the n-word on the “The Dreamer,” the album’s first track. “I respect that because she is someone who is learned in many ways. Yea, she’s never been an advocate of the N word, which is something that I have used and use in my music. But we can agree to disagree.”

Common said he has reached out to Angelou and discussed the lyrics in question. He said he still feels like a “child to her.”

“I think it’s important that I express who I am and she’s able to express who she is,” Common said. “She has no really negative vibes towards me […] We in a good space. At the end of day, I’m not going to always do everything that she probably would see as right but at the same token, she respects and she is in full support of me and is grateful to be on the album and I’m grateful to have her on the album.”

Common spoke for roughly 15 minutes to the students and posed for pictures afterwards. He shared his story of wanting to become a rapper but not having enough faith in his own dream – and said he was delighted to see so many young men ahead of the curve.

He also performed an impromptu freestyle, shouting out the school and the South Bronx community.

The Chicago-born emcee will release his ninth album Tuesday, The Dreamer, The Believer.

It’s been an eventful year for the 39-year-old rapper.

“Dreamer-gate” is not the first ‘controversy’ Common has dealt with this year. In April, an invitation by the first lady to read poetry at the White House raised eyebrows from conservative pundits and bloggers who said Com’s lyrics were violent and profanity-laced. Common went on to perform at the White House, alongside fellow performers like Jill Scott.

Common performed at Angelou’s 82nd birthday party last year, and he told theGrio the two will remain close.

Angelou’s poem appears at the end of the track in question. She closes the track referencing the courage many African slaves possessed in their journey to America:

“From all over the world, they came to America. Many shivering in rags and still they dared to dream. Let us dream for today and for tomorrow. Let us dare to dream.

Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter at @rantoddj