Lil Wayne has never been one to mince words, but this time it’s getting him into trouble and jeopardizing a lucrative endorsement deal.
The rapper was featured on the Future song “Karate Chop”–which was released a few months ago–with the controversial lyrics “Beat that p***y up like Emmett Till”. Emmett Till was a 14-year old African American boy who was beaten and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly flirted with a white woman; the brutality he endured before his death caused public outcry during the peak of tensions during the civil rights movement. Needless to say, when the Mamie Till Mobley Foundation–named after his late mother–heard about the song a backlash ensued. The outcry has led to Mountain Dew dropping Wayne from a sponsorship deal.
“We do not plan any additional work with Lil Wayne moving forward,” the company said in the statement. “His offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.”
“Back in February, when I first heard the lyrics, I was in utter shock, disappointment and sadness,” said Airickca Gordon-Taylor, director of the foundation. “Just as Mamie Till Mobley didn’t endure the pain of losing Emmett Till alone, many people have stood in solidarity with our family, even if it wasn’t the most popular stand to take. The road less traveled is surely not the easiest but standing for your principles provides the endurance needed to fight for human and civil rights. This decision was monumental, we commend Mountain Dew for taking action towards better social responsibility, and now I finally feel that we can exhale and focus on our beloved Mamie Till Mobley’s charge… Let’s get on with the business of positive thinking and living.”
Wayne responded to the family’s statement with one of his own, apologizing for causing offense.
“As a recording artist, I have always been interested in word play,” he said. “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.”