Music

Dear Lil Wayne: An Open Letter From Emmett Till’s Estate

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Lil Wayne (Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

Lil Wayne (Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

As one of music’s most in-demand featured artists, Lil Wayne has a way with words. But in recent news, it seems as if Wayne’s words are having their way with him. He found himself feeling the fire when he blasted Miami Heat players durring All-Star weekend,  and he’s still feeling the backlash for his graphic lyrics about slain Civil Rights icon, Emmett Till. 

While he choked out an apology to LeBron James for his anti-Miami Heat tirade, he has remaind silent on the derogatory Emmett Till lyrics that caused the record label to release a statement of their own.  

On Wednesday (February 20) a Till family representative penned an open letter to the rapper, outlining their gripes and inviting him to help provide support to youth victimized by hate crimes and violence.

“When you speak lyrics like, ‘beat that p—y up like Emmett Till,’ not only are you destroying the preservation and legacy of Emmett Till’s memory and name, but the impact of his murder in black history, along with degradation of women,” wrote Airickca Gordon-Taylor, Executive Director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Fund.  

Wayne’s offending lyrics appeared on Future‘s remix for “Karate Chop” that leaked on February 12. The following day, Epic Records, recording home to Future, released a statement on the matter

“We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future’s ‘Karate Chop,’ which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics,” Epic said in a statement. “Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family and the support of the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. … we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version.”

While the label has made an attempt to smooth over the controversy, including an apology from Epic head L.A. Reid, Lil Wayne remains quiet. 

“Your absence of communication can be interpreted in numerous ways,” Gordon-Taylor wrote in the letter that was published by Vibe. “Out of respect, we observe a moment of silence…momentary hesitations allow for self-correction…or silence could be misconstrued as a weapon of mass destruction. I refuse to accept the latter and believe it is your intent to injure the hearts of my family, Emmett Till’s legacey, nor the black community. I will not surrender the ‘Hope in MY heart’ that deeep down you care.” 

Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was brutally murdered in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The killing, along with Mamie Till Mobley’s decision to hold an open casket viewing, helped galvanize the Civil Rights movement. 

–Erik Parker, CBS Local

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