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Imagine sitting down at your computer, during Black History Month, and hearing the latest Lil’ Wayne remix of Future’s “Karate Chop”. Imagine you’re a family member of Emmitt Till, a 14yr. old black boy who was beat to death in 1955 for whistling with a white woman. Now imagine you hear this lyric: “Beat that [explicit] up like Emmitt Till”.
Unfortunately, that horrible scenario is reality. That’s what Lil’ Wayne says and the Till family is livid. Airickca Gordon Taylor, spokesperson for the Till family states “[Emmitt Till] was murdered for whistling a white women in 1955. So to compare his murder, and how brutally beaten and tortured he was, to the anatomy of a woman was really very disrespectful”. Ms. Taylor goes on to say “We found it dishonorable to his name and what his death has meant to us as a people and as a culture”.
When Rev. Jesse Jackson received word of the incident he immediately took action. Rev. Jackson reached out to Epic Records about the Lil’ Wayne line. On Feb. 13th Rev. Jackson tweeted “As soon as I found out bout Lil Wayne and his Emmett Till comment I spoke with LA Reid CEO of Epic Records and we had the comment removed.” Epic Records then released a statement saying, “We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future’s ‘Karate Chop,’ which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics. 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.”
Future, the original creator of the song, told MTV News that “Karate Chop” was done with good intentions. Future says “The record it was done from a good place, good art, he ain’t have no bad intentions when he was thinking about it like that.” Ms.Taylor believes that the lyric does harm to our history but to Lil’ Wayne and Future as well. She says “It was offensive, not only to us, but to our ancestors and to women and to themselves as young black men.”
Lil Wayne has not released a statement regarding the incident.