Last month I openly spoke about how maintaining the integrity of your brand is essential (click here for post) and it seems like some celebrities are learning this lesson the hard way. The lines of creativity and pushing the envelope are being defined more and more each day and big endorsements are beginning to be snagged from some top performers. Recently, Mountain Dew parted ways with rapper Lil Wayne due to the backlash that was received from his verse in the Karate Chop remix, which references Emmett Till; the young boy who was killed for flirting with a white woman in 1955. Lil Wayne raps, “Pop a lot of pain pills, Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels, Beat that pus*y up like Emmett Till…”
The rapper offered an apology letter to the Till family and he states:
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.
Best, Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. Lil Wayne (Statement)