Just one day after announcing that the recent Academy Award-winning hip hop artist Common would be speaking at graduation, Kean University announced on Tuesday that it would be looking into “other speaker options.”
The change comes after the outcry from law enforcement, who take issue with a 2000 song by the Glory composer called A Song for Assata. The song which is a tribute to Assata Shakur — also known as Joanne Chesimard — who was convicted in the 1973 death of Trooper Werner Foerster, has law enforcement officials upset. One union representative said that Common’s appearance at the graduation would be like a “slap in the face” to law enforcement.
Police say the 15-year-old song paints Shakur in a sympathetic light. The song’s lyrics include reference to Shakur’s “power and pride” as “beautiful” as well as the line “May God bless your soul.”