Dr. Maya Angelou Releases Statement Clearing Up Her "Disappointment" Over Common's Album

(AllHipHop News) Revered poet, author, and activist, Dr. Maya Angelou, didn’t mince words recently when commenting about the language and imagery on Common’s The Dreamer, The Believer. Despite having a guest appearance on the album, she told The New York Post recently that she was particularly bothered by his use of the “N-word.”

Dr. Angelou, whose writings from the past such as Singin’ and Swingin’ and Getting Merry Like Christmas have included many racy topics, wanted to clarify her position on Common’s recent release on BET’s 106th & Park this week:

“I don’t think the word “disappointment” quite makes it.  I was “surprised.”  I know that Common is brilliant.  He may, in fact, be close enough to be called a genius – I’m not sure.   I know that we are all in process and young artists are in process.  It’s important to realize that all of you – all of us – [are in process].  There was a statement made by Machiavelli in the 15th century.  He said if you want to control the people, separate them, and you can rule them.  Divide them and you can conquer them.  I will not be divided from Common.   By anybody’s imagination, he is brilliant and even genius, maybe.   But certainly smarter than us to know that he’s in process.  And next week, he might not even use the N-word[,] or the B-word.  It may even take two or three weeks, or a month.  But I’m not going to be separated from him…

[Watch the clip from BET’s 106th & Park HERE]

“Do your best to not be divided.  This doesn’t mean you are supposed to support everything anybody says.  Say “I disagree, but I don’t disagree to the point where I want you dead and out of here.”  You must understand that, people, we live in direct relation to the heroes and sheroes we have.  Always and in always if we don’t have heroes and sheroes and keep them alive, we are nothing.

Check out this video from early 2012, where Dr. Angelou says that Common “could be her son.”

Common’s The Dreamer, The Believer is available on iTunes and in stores today (December 20).

  • H. U. S.

    Just part ways Maya, Common has obviously thrown your trusts and beliefs out his window!

    • I have a box of Drake nuts…would you like to suck on em for breakfast?

      • H. U. S.

        Yo momma should’ve swallowed you! I’m not on Drakes nuts, I’m talking bout Common disrespecting an African American Icon!!!

      • NorthDollasTX

        smh @ niggahs mayne – YOU EVEN HEARD THE COT DAMN SONG YET?

      • Q.

        Doesn’t sound like it. LOL

      • H. U. S.

        I really hope that what you asked was a joke, if not then you’re a real idiot!

        Name one Common song that fought for Equality and had an impact on Americas outlook on Blacks….

        If you don’t understand an issue, then don’t speak on it! It’s not always cool to be stupid, learn your damn history and maybe then this issue would piss you off too!

      • johnblacksad

        you periodical ninja needs to chill…
        Ninja more sensitive than my touchscreen!

        You need better protection for them nerves… jus sayin

      • NorthDollasTX

        yeah niggah exactly what i thought … that EMOTIONAL azz response is proof that you aint even heard the COT DAMN SONG YET and prolly never heard a COMMON album in its entirety.  And WTF this got to do with HISTORY LMAO- on mama’s PHUCK BOI aint shyt you, your history teacher, AMERICAN GOV’T professor, corner-store or soap box preachers can tell me SHYT ABOUT “HISTORY”

      • H. U. S.

        If you don’t see how this has anything to do with history, then you are a very hopeless individual!

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  • If Common could be her son , all the more reason to be extra respectful on a track featuring her.

    It was a sucker move on Common’s behalf, plain & simple.

    >>>Still got love for Common….but that $hyt was wack!

    • Tony G.

      was it a sucker move or a mistake…ur acting like he dissed her on the track..stop making more of it than it is homey

    • NorthDollasTX

      c’mon B – wasnt no sucker move – she was on HIS record – maybe she should have done her research 1st – instead of “AFTER” she agreed to doing the FEATURE –

      this whole thang is a miscommunication @ BEST – COMMON gotta be the most RESPECTFUL and INTROSPECTIVE entertainers out PERIOD.

    • johnblacksad

      You right but i gotta co-sign NorfD-TX on that one… it ain’t like Com leaked her sextape out or sumthin… “miscommunication at best”… I’d understand is she specifically warned Com before doing the feature but it doesn’t look like it… talkin bout “she ain’t never heard Com use that word before”… I have! She needs to keep half of the blame to herself.. this ain’t Com’s first album

    • johnblacksad

      but yo, real talk though… i love how she handled that… wisdom leakin out of her letter like a ninja on his period!

  • Blackstallion777

    There are some idiots on here. How did common disrespect Maya Angelo? Show and prove. I have a lot of respect for Maya Angelo, great woman in but she hasn’t listened to a lot of Common’s records. It’s clear she’s only listened to a select few of his records if any. Common has used the N-word and B-word for a long time. He gets conscious of many records but it’s not all he does and it never has been. It’s part of the reason why many dudes f—- with common because he comes straight from the street without sound preachy. Common isn’t doing nothing he has never done before. Anybody remember “Go,” “Westside Slaughterhouse.” Now doesn’t mean she can’t be disappointed at the use of the word, she was a matter of fact very respectful of it rather than judgmental. She just had a different view of what common was doing and that is fine, she didn’t let it split them apart and shouldn’t so shame on someone saying she should part ways from him. But Common also explained that the record was recorded before they knew where Maya Angelo was going to be placed on the album

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  • PL

    “Check out this video from early 2012”

    SoooooOOooo this video is from the future? AHH is amazing!

  • NorthDollasTX

    thats a good bruvah and a QUEEN – uncrowned!

  • Romia Blue

    Common appologized; admitted wrong doing and Ms. Angelou accepted and clarified her thoughts. Can we keep it moving people? They are artists who we revere who have made history….NEXT!

  • NorthDollasTX

    niggahs must have forgot this game is full of SELF-HATRED and MISOGYNY already … and any niggah scapegoating COMMON but give the JAY-Z, NWA, BIGGIE, etc… a pass – OBVIOUSLY JUST COMMENTING OUT THEY AZZ AND NEVER HEARD A COMMON ALBUM.

    • TheBoxcarHobo

      Exaaaaactly, plus why should common be held to a higher standard than the rest of these ignorant no talent bums? He’s an artist, art should be uncensored. Period. People are too judgemental, I wonder if yall hold yourselves to the same standards that yall trying to impose on Common?

  • Q.

    LOL I’m laughing at some of these comments. Okay, the little “N-word” controversy aside, “The Dreamer” is a self-reflective and inspirational song…but what else would you expect from Common? And the poem by Dr. Angleou at the end is very powerful. I recommend y’all give it a listen.

    I find it ironic though how these media outlets are making a big deal out of this tiny issue, when you got rappers on the radio talking about all the fictitious kilos they’re moving, all the imaginary bodies they’re catching, and all the precious money they piss down the toilet while most of us are out here barely getting by, and this is what little Black kids are growing up listening to everyday on the radio–yet nobody has nothing to say about that?? Those lyrics are way more offensive to me than Common sprinkling a “nigga” or two in a verse. At the end of the day, this guy could be the most positive and inspirational rapper in history, but yet y’all wanna make this an issue.

    *sniff sniff*      

    Smells like a DOUBLE STANDARD.

    • H. U. S.

      The N-word is not at alll little controversy to be tossed aside, many blacks were not even called by their names…only ” N*gger”, people have died being called such and SHE helped fight against that!

      She at least deserves more respect from the black community, but people are still so stuck on the fact that this is just music…it’s more then that to others!

      • Q.

        My point was that there’s a double standard in play here. Read the rest of what I wrote. Name ONE Black mainstream rapper that doesn’t use the N-word. I’ll wait…..

        And this isn’t to justify or not justify whether they should use it or not, this is about sparing criticism on the rappers that really deserve it. Com saying “nigga” in context is small beans compared to these rappers with the false-flaggin gangsta and cocaine fairytales. Kids are listening to these clowns! And this issue isn’t about disrespecting Maya Angelou at all. She just voiced her opinion, after the fact, mind you. It’s Common’s album–he can say whatever the hell he wants to.

        So, Black people can debate over rappers using the “N-word” ’til the sun burns out, but at this point in the game, that’s neither here or there. We got way bigger fish to fry out here.

      • johnblacksad

        It’s people like you that give infinite power to the “n-word”!

      • H. U. S.

        No word has infinite power, please be quiet!

      • NorthDollasTX

        this clown said “THE N WORD” like he super righteous but look at his tag and the shyt reads “im too phuckin busy, too busy phuckin”  … WORD myG lmao – and you trying to kick knowledge – fraud azz niggah mayne – – –

        you dont know 1 MAYA ANGELOU poem by its TITLE – cuz you APATHETIC and dont pick up books niggah – so quit fronting and frauding – ole step and fetch it azz niggah – sending out them kiss azz responses –

        just off top – here’s a few titles for you to lean wit’

        i used to love h.e.r.
        the corner
        the people
        come close ft mjb

      • H. U. S.

        Yes, I said the “N-Word”…I’m proud to be black and you’re obviously proud to be stupid! How does me stating a word in its context make me righteous?

        My tag does not describe me as a man, it’s what I stand for that defines me as a man!!!  Dr. Martin Luther King was a womanizer, but it’s what he  stood for that kept even you free from racial hatred!

        It’s good to kick knowledge to those who can understand something real, anybody can say the ignorant stuff you’re saying….it means nothing! My responses are not meant for kissing anyones ass, it’s meant to bring black people back to reality…That we definitely need to do better!

        Did you just put Commons’ “The Corner” as a song that fought for Equality??? WOW….Had you said the early 2Pac albums or Commons “U, Me Black Maybe” or even “Misunderstood”, then maybe we could almost understand one another…

        Did you even listen to the Corner? The 1st verse….”Memories on corners with the 4’s and the Mo’s”….I’m from Chicago and still live here, so I know Common and gangs all too well. I don’t need a dictionary or anything else to know that this song had nothing to do with Equality! I’m done….you’re obviously not on my level of intellegence, have a good day!

  • AugustusPaulo

    Check out this video from early 2012 … you must be in a time machine

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  • Diemenz

    its a give an take i think common should have known better he could have said homie and no one would even no the difference, but i think she is trying to keep peace but  the word nigga and so many things keeps the generations at a difference instead of keeping us stronger

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  • Ok how about having an opinion & expressing it to the individual instead of trying to air it out this dude Common is arguably 1 of the greatest mcs to touch the mic & the n word has a different meaning to past generations & unfortunately everyone and their uncle uses it nowadays but it needs to be obliterated asap.

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