New Jersey University Rethinks Common as Commencement Speaker Over 15-Year-Old Song

New Jersey's Kean University has canceled hip-hop artist Common as commencement speaker after police voiced concerns over a song about a convicted cop killer who fled to Cuba.

The school announced the Academy Award winner's selection on Monday, but said he would not be the speaker on Tuesday night.

University spokeswoman Susan Kayne tells The Record newspaper the announcement was made prematurely and the school is pursuing other speaker options.

Common won the Academy Award for composing the song "Glory" for the 2014 film Selma.

State Police union president Chris Burgos called his choice a "slap in the face" because lyrics in Common's 2000 recording "A Song for Assata" portrays Joanne Chesimard as a victim.

Chesimard was convicted in 1977 of killing a New Jersey state trooper. She remains in Cuba after she escaped from prison.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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