Lil Wayne apologizes for offensive lyric about slain civil rights teen

CALIFORNIA, United States, Wednesday May 8, 2013 – After igniting a firestorm of protest earlier this year, rapper Lil Wayne has finally sent a letter of apology to the family of Emmett Till for a lyric he contributed to Future’s “Karate Chop” that contained a crude and offensive reference to the slain teen.

Till was just 14-years-old in 1955 when he was murdered in Mississippi. His brutal slaying seized the attention of the media, going on to fuel support for the United States civil rights movement.

Fast-forward to February 2013 when what Epic Records called an “unauthorized remix” of “Karate Chop” first hit the Internet, containing a lyric by Lil Wayne that likened the late Emmett Till’s savage beating death to a sexual act.

Epic, Wayne’s record label, immediately apologized and removed the line from the rapper’s version of the track.

At the time, Till’s cousin, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, said that her family was “very offended, very hurt” and found the lyric “dishonourable to his [Emmett Till’s] name and what his death has meant to us as a people and as a culture.”

In a letter that the martyred teen’s family released to the media last week, Wayne offered a long overdue apology.

“It has come to my attention that lyrics from my contribution to a fellow artist’s song has deeply offended your family,” the rapper wrote. “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,” the letter continued. “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,” Wayne added.

The rapper, who recently suffered what was said to be a near-fatal series of back-to-back epileptic seizures, was reportedly in and out of hospital again last week after having another attack. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)