In February of this year, Lil Wayne made national headlines for a lyric on Future's "Karate Chop (Remix)." The New Orleans, Louisiana emcee-turned-mogul rapped, "I beat the pussy up like Emmett Till." The crude simile was comparing sex to the 1955 hate-crime murder of the 15 year-old Till, for allegedly winking at a White woman in Mississippi. Following the song's release, Emmett Till's cousin publicly criticized Lil Wayne's racial "pride and dignity" for the deeply insensitive lyrics.
Over two and a half months later, Lil Wayne, who was hospitalized for seizures in early March (during which time the Till family offered prayer on his behalf), has publicly apologized for his lyrics. This is the letter, as is it appeared at MissInfo.TV, is re-published below:
"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.
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
This apology follows a similar apology concerning offensive content, written by rapper Rick Ross, concerning his perceived rape lyrics from an appearance on Rocko's "U.E.N.O." Due to the lyrics, public petition from womens rights groups, and delayed apology, the rapper lost an endorsement partnership with Reebok which was believed to be worth as much as $5 million.