Lil Wayne has made his mark on Black History month, but surely not in the way he intended. Epic Records has promised to remove his crude reference to Emmett Till, the 14-year-old African-American kid who became an icon in the Civil Rights movement after he was beaten to death for whistling at a white woman in 1955.
The offending lyrics appeared on Future‘s remix for “Karate Chop,” that leaked on Monday (February 12). In the song, which talks about selling (“chopping”) drugs, Lil Wayne makes his off-color reference to Till.
“About to put rims on my skate board wheels/ Beat that p***y up like Emmett Till”
After a day of backlash and internet protests, Epic issued a statement saying they repost the song without Wayne’s offending lyrics.
“We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future’s ‘Karate Chop,’ which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family and the support of the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. … we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version.”
While Epic pointed out that the version that caused the backlash was a leak, that initially hit over the weekend, Future did explain that the official song did include Lil Wayne.
— FUTURE/FREEBANDZ (@1future) February 11, 2013
The next day, Future retweeted an post from VIBE magazine, in which a version (presumably an official version) of the song was embedded, that included the Emmett Till reference.
The apology didn’t stop with a press release. Epic Records’ CEO L.A. Reid felt the need to try to make amends, according to the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, named for the mother of Emmett:
“Just ended a conversation with L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic!,” a status update read. “He apologized to me and our family and stated the song is being pulled!!!! “Future” owns the rights to the song so they have the power to pull it. Mr. Reid stated the song was leaked out and he had not heard the lyrics. He is a man of integrity that values our family’s legacy and wouldn’t allow such heinous usage of Emmett Till’s name or dishonor his memory.”
The post went on to point out that Lil Wayne has remained silent on the matter.
“We have yet to hear from Lil Wayne’s camp and he is the one that said it! It was all I could do to hold back my tears while engaged in conversation. Thank you Mr. Reid for now I can exhale.”
For now, you can still hear the offending lyrics here.
–Erik Parker, CBS Local