ABC Fawns Over Rapper Common, Ignores Violent, Misogynistic Lyrics

During a glowing softball interview with controversial rapper Common on ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday, the hosts applauded the singer for serving as a spokesman for Starbucks training on racial bias, but failed to question him about his violent and misogynistic lyrics. In sharp contrast, NBC anchor Megyn Kelly blasted the coffee chain’s decision to partner with the performer.

“And our next guest is a rapper, actor, poet, and activist,” proclaimed GMA co-host Michael Strahan as he introduced Common. Moments later, Strahan touted: “You know, you recently took on a very important role. Starbucks has been in the headlines this month and you’re actually teaming up with them for the new training program that they’re doing. Tell us about that.”

 

 

Common explained: “Yeah, well, really I just served as a voice of narration for the day that they have today which is about, you know, just starting a conversation....[about] what’s been happening with black men in America, and black people, Starbucks was just a microcosm of...how black people have been dehumanized.”

Again, the rapper’s dehumanizing comments about women or support for convicted cop killers in his songs were ignored, even as he proclaimed: “And we gotta hold Starbucks accountable, we gotta hold our political officials accountable, any businesses that we support, and we hold ourselves accountable. So that’s why I’m a part of this conversation.”

Instead of holding him accountable for his own words, fill-in co-host Amy Robach followed up with this: “So Common, you have an Emmy, you have an Oscar, you have three Grammys. So just one Tony and you’ve got the EGOT. If you could be in any musical, what would it be?”

Wrapping the segment, Strahan heaped effusive praise on their guest: “And, Common, we’re still trying to figure out something you’re not good at. You’re so good at everything.”

Just thirty minutes later, on her 9:00 a.m. ET hour show, NBC morning show anchor Megyn Kelly pointed to Common’s history of nasty lyrics:

I have to say this too. Apparently one of the people they’re using to instruct on the, you know, bias, is Common. The rapper, Common. This is a guy, just for the record, he’s been accused of homophobic lyrics, talking “gays shouldn’t come near me.” Referred to women as “hos,” “bitches” and “sluts,” talked about he’s a “pimp” and women should be part of his “stable,” in his lyrics.  

Reporter Stephanie Gosk chimed in: “Perhaps not the right messenger.” Kelly urged: “I’m just saying, you know, like, if we’re going to hold up somebody for – as an example to teach on bias, maybe we should be sensitive to that person’s entire record.” Moments later, she added: “And what about the female customers? Because, you know, I have to say, I don’t know that this is the best person to instruct on bias, from what I read in this man’s lyrics.”

Kelly then reminded viewers of another public controversy regarding the rapper: “And that’s why he was a controversial choice a couple years ago, when he – Michelle Obama invited him to speak at the White House. And so, there’s been a long history that’s been well-documented, as Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, should know.”

ABC’s kid-glove treatment of Common on Tuesday should come as no surprise, since the network ran to the rapper’s defense amid the outrage over his invitation to the Obama White House in 2011. At that time, ABC’s then-White House Correspondent Jake Tapper absurdly argued that Common was “not particularly controversial,” while ABCNews.com defended the performer by pointing out what an “acclaimed artist” he was and that “he’s never killed anyone.”

ABC continues to present Common as a non-controversial entertainer who is “so good at everything” while refusing to acknowledge any of his offensive lyrics.

Here are excerpts of the May 29 segment on GMA:

8:30 AM ET

MICHAEL STRAHAN: And our next guest is a rapper, actor, poet, and activist. His new movie, The Tale, already has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That’s pretty amazing. Please welcome Common. [Applause]

(...)

STRAHAN: You know, you recently took on a very important role. Starbucks has been in the headlines this month and you’re actually teaming up with them for the new training program that they’re doing. Tell us about that.

COMMON: Yeah, well, really I just served as a voice of narration for the day that they have today which is about, you know, just starting a conversation. And I – you know, what’s been happening with black men in America, and black people, Starbucks was just a microcosm of what’s been – you know, how black people have been dehumanized. And I wanted to be a part of that conversation. It’s important that, you know, you have a black man standing up and saying what we need.

And just being – you know, with Howard Schultz, I’ve had a relationship with him because he first approached me talking about, actually right after Michael Brown was killed Howard Schultz is the CEO or former CEO of Starbucks and after Michael Brown was killed. Howard Schultz is the CEO – or former CEO of Starbucks. And after Michael Brown was killed, he was really trying to figure out how to get police and the communities together. And one of the things we –  one of initiatives that I worked with him on was getting jobs for people in underserved communities.

And, you know, I know their heart is in the right place, his heart is in the right place, but it has to be more than just the conversation – which I think the conversation today is a step. But I, as a – for me as a black man, we want to see action, we want to see you going to the communities and show – team up with people who are doing things in the community and figure out from these communities how can you really serve them. And we gotta hold Starbucks accountable, we gotta hold our political officials accountable, any businesses that we support, and we hold ourselves accountable. So that’s why I’m a part of this conversation. [Applause]

AMY ROBACH: So Common, you have an Emmy, you have an Oscar, you have three Grammys. So just one Tony and you’ve got the EGOT. If you could be in any musical, what would it be?

COMMON: Oh, man, one of my favorites musicals of all time is The Wiz. I love The Wiz because I love Michael Jackson. But maybe I – you know, maybe I would like to do a musical about Marvin Gaye or Gil Scott-Heron, so maybe it would be something like that. But I would love to do Broadway. It’s like – I go to the theater –    

ROBACH: We’d love to see you on Broadway.

COMMON: Thank you, thank you. I appreciate it, Amy.

(...)

STRAHAN: And, Common, we’re still trying to figure out something you’re not good at.

COMMON: Oh, come on, man.

STRAHAN: You’re so good at everything. And thank you for joining us, too, my friend. [Applause]

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