Hip Hop has never bit its tongue. But now, it may have to.
Soon after news of Rick Ross’ recent firing from Reebok sent shockwaves through the Hip Hop community, PepsiCo released an official statement saying it is parting ways with CashMoney Records rapper Lil’ Wayne for a controversial line in Future’s “Karate Chop.”
Lil’ Wayne, who served as a spokesman for the Mountain Dew brand, came under fire after making some disparaging remarks about slain Civil Rights icon Emmett Till.
In “Karate Chop,” Lil’ Tunechi raps, “Beat the pu**y up like Emmett Till.”
Listen to “Karate Chop” Below
PepsiCo said in a statement Friday, “We do not plan any additional work with Lil Wayne moving forward. His offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.”
Sarah Cunningham, a rep for Lil’ Wayne’s record label Young Money released a statement, saying the split was due to “creative differences” and that it was an amicable parting.
“That’s about all I can tell you at this time,” she said.
News of Lil’ Wayne’s firing comes only a day after the “B*tches Love Me” rapper wrote a letter to the Till family apologizing for the offensive line.
“Moving forward, I will not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in my music, especially in an inappropriate manner,” he wrote.
“Karate Chop” is not the first song Lil’ Wayne disrespected the slain Chicago teen.
Lil’ Wayne previously disrespected Emmett Till in 2007 on “Da Drought 3” mixtape in song “Swizzy.”
In “Swizzy,” Lil’ Wayne raps, “Beat up ya block yeah I get my Emmett Till on.”
These lines are highly offensive given the story behind Emmett Till.
Emmett Louis Till was a 14-year-old African American Chicago teen murdered in Mississippi in 1955 after allegedly whistling at a white woman. The teen was in the Mississippi Delta region visiting family members.
The event took place after Till allegedly showed friends a photograph of himself in an integrated school. Till said he had a white girlfriend to the young boys’ disbelief. Till was dared by some of the local boys to talk to a white woman who was running a store.
A few days later after the incident, the woman’s husband Roy Bryant and half brother J.W. Milam arrived at the teen’s great-uncle’s house and took him to a barn, tortured him and gouged out one of his eyes. They shot the Chicago boy in the head, tied a cotton gin fan around his neck with barbwire and threw his body in the Tallahatchie River. His body was recovered three days later.
Till’s mother held an open casket funeral for the world to see the brutal nature of her son’s murder. Bryant and Milam were brought to trial for Till’s death and later acquitted. A few months later, the two boldly admitted to killing the teen in a magazine interview. Bryant and Milam were protected by double jeopardy, which prevents a defendant from being charged with the same crime after being acquitted.
Read Lil’ Wayne’s letter to the Till family below.
Dear Till Family:
As a recording artist, I have always been interested in word play. My lyrics often reference people, places and events in my music, as well as the music that I create for or alongside other artists.
It has come to my attention that lyrics from my contribution to a fellow artist’s song has deeply offended your family. As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain that your family has had to endure. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge your hurt, as well as the letter you sent to me via your attorneys.
Moving forward, I will not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in my music, especially in an inappropriate manner. I fully support Epic Record’s decision to take down the unauthorized version of the song and to not include the reference in the version that went to retail. I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue.
I have tremendous respect for those who paved the way for the liberty and opportunities that African-Americans currently enjoy. As a business owner who employs several African-American employees and gives philanthropically to organizations that help youth to pursue their dreams my ultimate intention is to uplift rather than degrade our community.
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. Lil Wayne
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