SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — Grammy-winning rapper Common broke his silence about a white Bay Area teacher who dressed up as him in blackface on Halloween.
Common was stopped by TMZ cameras at Mineta San Jose International Airport on Thursday. The rapper was in the Bay Area to speak at a tech conference hosted by Intuit in San Jose.
"Your purpose is not for others to define. It is yours. Other people may not see your vision, even people who truly care for you. But it is your vision, your love, to work towards." @common at #QBConnect pic.twitter.com/q1iPwUgidJ
— Intuit Accountants (@IntuitAccts) November 8, 2019
“It’s important, man, that teachers and people that are educating our children are well educated themselves on things that deal with history, culture, emotional history and emotional intelligence, it’s important,” he says in the video.
Common said he’d also be willing to meet with the teacher to discuss the incident with the teacher, who is on administrative leave from Milpitas High School.
The teacher tried to imitate a Common song by rapping out his lesson on artificial intelligence on Halloween day.
Sooooooooo… one of our WHITE teachers at mhs yesterday decided to paint his face so look like common the rapper yesterday. pic.twitter.com/1WudSddCLZ
— karrington (@karrington_kk) November 1, 2019
Students said that despite negative feedback on his planned costume due to the insensitive or hurtful connotations behind it, he proceeded anyway.
Chris Norwood, the Milpitas Unified school board president, called the teacher’s actions “inappropriate, unprofessional and insensitive.”
“As an African American man, the history of blackface reminds me of the cruelty, hatred and fear my parents and people of African ancestry have dealt with in the past and still experience today around the world,” Norwood said.
Students also said the teacher might not be welcome back due to his actions.
“I don’t think he should be able to come back because a lot of people have already taken offense to him,” said Milpitas High student Ryan Harper.