Coffee Talk: Common's Commencement Speech Canceled After Police Complaints

Plus: Tavis Smiley is developing a Maya Angelou play, Kendrick Lamar confirms he's working on a track with Prince, President Obama commutes 22 drug-related prison sentences and more.

Jolie A. Doggett Apr, 02, 2015

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New Jersey's Kean University canceled Common's commencement speech after police officers voiced their anger over Common's song, "A Song For Assata." Assata Shakur was convicted of killing a New Jersey State Trooper in the 70's and escaping from jail to flee to Cuba. State Trooper Association President Chris Burgos calls Common's song "a slap in the face." [Complex]

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TV and radio host Tavis Smiley is developing a stage adaptation of his book "My Journey With Maya," a memoir about Smiley's relationship with the late poet Maya Angelou. Smiley is partnering with Tony Award-winning director Kenny Leon ("The Wiz") to bring the play to life.

"I haven't been this excited by a project in a long, long time," Leon said. "I don't think there is another person like her in my lifetime or in the last 100 years of American artistry and literary achievement." [Yahoo! News]

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The music Gods have smiled down upon us. Kendrick Lamar confirmed that he was in the studio with none other than Prince to record especial song. No word yet on when we'll get to hear magnificent collaboration, but Lamar says he learned a lot just from being in the same studio as Prince.

"I didn't trip over getting a song done. I really appreciate the actual game [Prince] was giving me. He took control of his music," Lamar said. "He was breaking down some things that I need to consider in my career." [Billboard]

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One of the perks of being President is being able to pardon convicted criminals. President Obama exercised that executive right and commuted 22 prison sentences for drug related crimes. 

“These older, stringent punishments that are out of line with sentences imposed under today’s laws erode people’s confidence in our criminal justice system,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. [Hello Beautiful]

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All of the time Olajide Olatunji spent playing video games is paying off big time. The 21-year-old is made a fortune from posting videos of himself playing video games on YouTube.

"Essentially, I'm a 21-year-old who's a millionaire through gaming, vlogging and my online experience," he told Vice.

He currently has 8.9 million subscribers on YouTube with over 1.5 billion views making him the second most watched YouTuber in England. [Vice]

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All aboard for the first ever Gospel Music Cruise, a full-ship charter to the Caribbean islands of San Juan. Tortola, Grand Turk and Half Moon Bay featuring an all-star line up of contemporary gospel artists. Favorites like Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Shirley Caesar, Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp and more will be on board for a week of music, faith and fun. The Gospel Cruise sets sail on March 6, 2016 from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.