Mountain Dew has severed business relationship with American rapper Lil Wayne over lewd lyrics on 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was killed nearly 60 years ago.
Emmett was killed in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly flirting with a white woman. He was beaten to the extent that his face was unrecognizable when his body was discovered. He was identified by a monogrammed ring belonging to his father.
Lil Wayne’s Future’s Karate Chop leaked online containing the lyric, “I’mma beat the pu**y up like Emmett Till”
In and open letter sent to Vibe Magazine, the Estate of Emmett Till had written,
“How would you feel is your child was beaten beyond recognition, body mutilated and disfigured, torchered for hours, unnecessarily shot after being BEATEN TO DEATH, lynched in barbed wire weighted down by a 70 pound cotton gin fan and tossed in a river with intent to never be found again? “
Emmett Till was just a child! Emotional consumption of devastation, sadness grief and anger would impel you to your soul, similar to the response your lyrics evoked from our family. The impact of your words left us in awe with our hearts and our mouths wide open.
Your lyrics reopened Emmett Till’s casket and reminded the world but most importantly my family including surviors of the tragedy, of the gruesomness of hatred and served as a reminder of the loss owe suffered. Although its been over 57 years it feels like yesterday.”
Lil Wayne’s letter to the Till family
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.”
His letter was not taken as a public apology as requested by Till’s family. Mountain Dew dropped him immediately after his letter went public as a brand spokesperson. Their brief statement reads “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”