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Common’s Message For Politicians Who Keep Referencing Chicago’s Gun Violence

Hip-hop artist Common is done with politicians who bring up Chicago’s gun violence to score political points. 

When moderator Lester Holt asked both candidates how they would improve the nation’s racial divide at Monday’s presidential debate, Donald Trump said his approach would be to reinstate “law and order” and quickly pivoted to crime in New York City and Chicago. With a nod to New York, he appeared to advocate for the very aggressive form of stop and frisk recently used in that city, a tactic that was ruled unconstitutional in 2013

Common, who hails from The Windy City, was not impressed. 

“Usually the people that it’s being brought up by, whether it’s [Rudy] Giuliani or Donald Trump, I never feel like they’re saying it because they care about the people, that they really care about Chicago,” he told HuffPost’s Jacques Morel during an interview on Thursday.  

The Republican presidential nominee has referenced the violence in Chicago on a number of occasions, but Common isn’t convinced that he’s done anything to fix the problem. In fact, Trump stopped by Chicago on Wednesday and avoided the neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by violence. 

Common suggested that political figures, like Trump, have used the issue to “justify” and “distract” from other problems like police brutality. 

“What are you doing to help that situation?” Common asked. “And if you know that situation exists, have you ever reached out to do something? Are you actively doing something or are you just mentioning it as a ploy just to combat what’s going on and to distract?” 

Common added that the posturing is nothing but “political theater.” 

“I ain’t falling for it,” he said. 

Watch Common’s full interview here

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article stated that “stop and frisk” was ruled unconstitutional in 2013. However, that applied only to the more aggressive, more loosely applied practice being used in New York City.