Common's Cop Killers: What Jon Stewart Failed to Mention On Last Night's 'Factor'

Jon Stewart got away with a lot of ridiculous arguments on The Factor last night. Stewart’s argument that Common wasn’t actually supporting cop killing because he somehow believes that both Assata Shakur and Mumia Abu Jamal are actually innocent of the crime – and therefore should be excused – is both irrelevant and ludicrous. O’Reilly largely let him get away with it. Does Stewart think Rashard Mendenhall should be off the hook because he *technically* doesn’t support or sympathize with terrorism if he actually thinks Bin Laden’s hijacked airplanes might not have been the cause of the World Trade Center buildings collapsing? Attempting to rewrite the history of clearly and unforgivably evil people is decidedly rejected by good and decent people. Stewart can shove that argument.

Mendenhall recently lost his endorsement from Champion Sports over a few infamous, perhaps impulsive tweets. Common wrote a damn love song about convicted cop-killer and domestic terrorist Assata Shakur, went to visit her in Cuba, and named his daughter after her. I have attached that song at the end of this post, because I want everyone to see exactly what we’re talking about here. If you name your daughter after a convicted cop-killer, domestic terrorist and violent, militant Black Nationalist, then the song you wrote worshipping said cop-killer was not simply adopting an artistic voice. If your defense is going to be that you believe she’s really completely innocent, you better have some damn good reasons for believing so if you expect anyone to let it slide.

Common’s taking sides with Assata Shakur doesn’t have anything to do with his expert legal opinion. He’s taking sides with Assata Shakur because he apparently worships everything for which she stood – Black Panthers, Black Liberation Army (BLA), ethnic sectarianism, and the great socialist revolution. He didn’t write a song arguing that even though Assata Shakur joined a reprehensible, racist and violent terrorist organization like the BLA and did a number of awful things with them, in this particular incident there were anomalies in the application of due process. He wrote a song worshiping her values and her life’s mission.

By all means read up on the BLA. During the 1970’s they carried out a string of violent acts, bombings, robberies, murders, and jail breaks. They even worked alongside with the Weather Underground. How exactly does Common believe that Assata was fighting “so we could be free?” Common’s entire song is rewriting the repugnant history of a cold blooded murderer and substituting a fabricated narrative wherein the police and the American government are a bunch of vicious, racist goons simply out to get black people.

Jon Stewart can’t figure out why that’s incredibly offensive, especially to police?

Common also somehow believes, celebrates and sings about the “innocence” and greatness of another convicted cop-killer, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Coincidentally he was also a Black Nationalist and Black Panther. That’s a pretty unmistakable pattern. Add to that Common’s personal, not artistic, opposition to interracial marriage, which somehow went unmentioned on The Factor. If this guy were either a white guy or a conservative and promoted this kind of ethnic sectarianism, this guy would be so unthinkably toxic, and rightfully so, that no honorable President would ever think of validating his artwork, and he would never be allowed anywhere near Sesame Street. Yet these are the kinds of messages promoted by our President, the great racial healer?

We have all sat through hysterical warnings time and time again about how “dangerous,” “radical,” and “anti-government” all of those wannabe Timothy McVeigh tea-partiers really are, in spite of absolutely all evidence to the contrary. The President’s and his allies’ direct ties and open advocacy of actual anti-government radicals and domestic terrorism or terrorists (see Bill Ayers, see Jeremiah Wright’s support of Qaddafi) are all supposed to be ignored. Somehow conservatives are the ones with double standards?

Like many others, I’m disappointed in Fox News’ handling of the Common controversy. It’s not that they’re on the wrong side of it; they just keep whiffing badly in their presentation and argument. Understandably, assessing pop-culture is not really Sean Hannity’s forté, and Jon Stewart is going to have a built-in advantage on that turf going up against Bill O’Reilly, but O’Reilly should have wiped the floor with Stewart last night, but he played nice and let him off the hook (or if you’re Mediaite straight news guy Colby Hall, O’Reilly producers cut to commercial as a “standing eight count” to duck the merciless beating from Jon Stewart. The “editorial” tag must still have a glitch over there). It’s not that O’Reilly lost the debate by any means – he didn’t. It’s that he left so much on the table and let Stewart get away with so much.

Common is not only a miserable influence on children, but the promotion of his art by the White House (not to mention the President’s former church) is just another reminder that this administration’s approach to race has nothing to do with interracial unity. It is much more about ethnic solidarity and division for the advancement of a radical political agenda.

A Song For Assata”

(feat. Cee-Lo)


In the Spirit of God.

In the Spirit of the Ancestors.

In the Spirit of the Black Panthers.

In the Spirit of Assata Shakur.

We make this movement towards freedom

for all those who have been oppressed, and all those in the struggle.

Yeah. yo, check it-

There were lights and sirens, gunshots firin

Cover your eyes as I describe a scene so violent

Seemed like a bad dream, she laid in a blood puddle

Blood bubbled in her chest, cold air brushed against open flesh

No room to rest, pain consumed each breath

Shot twice wit her hands up

Police questioned but shot before she answered

One Panther lost his life, the other ran for his

Scandalous the police were as they kicked and beat her

Comprehension she was beyond, tryna hold on

to life. She thought she’d live with no arm

that’s what it felt like, got to the hospital, eyes held tight

They moved her room to room-she could tell by the light

Handcuffed tight to the bed, through her skin it bit

Put guns to her head, every word she got hit

“Who shot the trooper?” they asked her

Put mace in her eyes, threatened to blast her

Her mind raced till things got still

Opened her eyes, realized she’s next to her best friend who got killed

She got chills, they told her: that’s where she would be next

Hurt mixed wit anger-survival was a reflex

They lied and denied visits from her lawyer

But she was buildin as they tried to destroy her

If it wasn’t for this german nurse they woulda served her worse

I read this sister’s story, knew that it deserved a verse

I wonder what would happen if that woulda been me?

All this shit so we could be free, so dig it, y’all.

[Cee-lo vocals]

I’m thinkin’ of Assata, yes.

Listen to my Love, Assata, yes.

Your Power and Pride is beautiful.

May God bless your Soul.


It seemed like the middle of the night when the law awakened her

Walkie-talkies cracklin, I see ’em when they takin her

Though she kinda knew,

What made the ride peaceful was the trees and the sky was blue

Arrived to Middlesex Prison about six inna morning

Uneasy as they pushed her to the second floor in

a cell, one cot, no window, facing hell.

Put in the basement of a prison wit all males

And the smell of misery, seatless toilets and centipedes

She’d exercise, (paint?,) and begin to read

Two years inna hole. Her soul grew weak

Away from people so long she forgot how to speak

She discovered frredom is a unspoken sound

And a wall is a wall and can be broken down

Found peace in the Panthers she went on trial with

One of the brothers she had a child with

The foulness they would feed her, hopin she’s lose her seed

Held tight, knowing the fight would live through this seed

In need of a doctor, from her stomach she’s bleed

Out of this situation a girl was conceived

Separated from her, left to mother the Revolution

And lactated to attack hate

Cause federal and state was built for a Black fate

Her emptiness was filled with beatings and court dates

They fabricated cases, hoping one would stick

And said she robbed places that didn’t exist

In the midst of threats on her life and being caged with Aryan whites

Through dark halls of hate she carried the light

I wonder what would happen if that woulda been me?

All of this shit so we could be free.

Yeah, I often wonder what would happen if that woulda been me?

All of this shit so we could be free, so dig it, people-


I’m thinkin’ of Assata, yeah.

Listen to my Love, Assata, yeah.

Your Power and Pride, so Beautiful…

May God bless your Soul.




From North Carolina her grandmother would bring

news that she had had a dream

Her dreams always meant what they needed them to mean

What made them real was the action in between

She dreamt that Assata was free in they old house in Queens

The fact that they always came true was the thing

Assata had been convicted of a murder she couldna done

Medical evidence shown she couldna shot the gun

It’s time for her to see the sun from the other side

Time for her daughter to be by her mother’s side

Time for this Beautiful Woman to become soft again

Time for her to breathe, and not be told how or when

She untangled the chains and escaped the pain

How she broke out of prison I could never explain

And even to this day they try to get to her

but she’s free with political asylum in Cuba.

[Cee-Lo vocals]

I’m thinkin’ of Assata, yeah.

Listen to my Love, Assata, yeah.

We’re molded from the same mud, Assata.

We share the same Blood, Assata, yeah.

Your Power and Pride, so Beautiful…

May God bless your Soul.

Your Power and Pride, so Beautiful…

May God bless your Soul.



Freedom! You askin me about freedom. Askin me about freedom?

I’ll be honest with you. I know a whole more about what freedom isn’t

than about what it is, cause I’ve never been free.

I can only share my vision with you of the future, about what freedom is.

Uhh, the way I see it, freedom is– is the right to grow, is the right to


Freedom is -is the right to be yourself, to be who you are,

to be who you wanna be, to do what you wanna do. [fade out]