Lil Wayne Loses Mountain Dew Deal Over Controversial Emmett Till Lyric
More bad news for Lil Wayne. The ‘No Worries’ rapper just lost his Mountain Dew endorsement deal over some very controversial and somewhat gruesome lyrics.
Weezy’s verse in Future’s ‘Karate Chop’ remix features the lyric, “Beat that p—- up like Emmett Till.”
For those unaware, Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who was brutally tortured and murdered in 1955 by racists in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. At Till’s funeral, his mother wanted to had an open casket so mourners could see the damage done to her son’s face up close. (His accused murderers, one of which was the woman’s husband, were acquitted by an all-white jury.) Till’s death helped spark the Civil Rights Movement.
Till’s family was outraged by Wayne’s lyrics when the song initially dropped in February, and now PepsiCo, which owns Mountain Dew, has dropped Wayne’s endorsement deal.
PepsiCo released a statement (via Billboard) condemning the lyrics, saying that Weezy’s “offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.” Wayne’s publicist said the split was an amicable one over “creative differences,” adding, “That’s about all I can tell you at this time.”
Wayne did offer a letter of apology to the Till family, but they didn’t accept it.
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.
Best, Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. Lil Wayne
A publicist for the Till family, Airicka Gordon-Taylor, responded with a Facebook post:
“We are aware of Lil Wayne’s statement of acknowledgement of our family’s pain and our disapproval of referencing Emmett Till in his lyrical content.
While it’s commendable that he has vowed to respect the legacy of Emmett Till and his memory to ‘not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in his music,’ this statement falls short of an apology, as none is mentioned.”
It appears Wayne’s lack of an actual apology as well as the Till’s family refusal to accept it as such is what led to the severance of the deal.
Watch the Lil Wayne ‘Rich as F—’ Video Feat. 2 Chainz