After weeks of escalating pressure from the family of slain civil rights icon Emmett Till, Lil Wayne has finally issued an “acknowledgement” of “hurt” for the offending lyrics. Despite his earnest words, the rapper falls short of an explicit apology.
While Epic Records issued an apology in February and removed Wayne’s offending lyrics from the track, Wayne remained silent on the matter for months.
In a letter issued today, addressed to the Till Family, Wayne empathized with the pain that his words caused but did not say sorry for causing the pain.
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. (via MissInfo)
The dispute began in February with Future‘s song “Karate Chop (Remix),” which featured Lil Wayne’s controversial lyric “beat the p***** up like Emmett Till.”
The flippant reference to the Mississippi born African-American boy who was brutally beaten to death for whistling at a white woman in 1955 sparked a response from the Till family, who called for an apology.
While Wayne does not use the word “apology” or “sorry,” the letter functions as a treaty of sorts. He makes concessions to the family about future usage of the Till name.
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.
Earlier this month, the family of Emmett Till called on Mountain Dew to drop Wayne as a spokesperson because of his lack of sensitivity. The strategy of targeting a rapper’s corporate sponsors was recently employed by UltraViolet, a women’s rights activists group whose protests led Reebok to drop Rick Ross over a lyric that critics said glorified rape.
A call to the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, which represents the family of Emmett Till, has not been returned at press time.