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Lil Wayne could be the second major rapper to lose a lucrative endorsement deal if the family of Emmett Till has their way.
The trouble between Wayne and Till's family began when a leaked version of Future's song "Karate Chop" hit the net in February.
"Pop a lot of pain pills/Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels/Beat that p*ssy up like Emmett Till," Weezy raps in the song.
Till was brutally murdered in 1955 at the age of 14 in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman by the name of Carolyn Bryant. Bryant's husband Roy and his half-brother J. W. Milam took Till, who was visiting from Chicago, from his uncle's home to a barn where they beat him, gouged out his eyes and shot him in the head. They later tied him to a cotton gin fan and tossed his body into the Tallahatchie River. He was found three days later.
When his body was returned to Chicago, his mother insisted his casket be left open so the world could see the brutality of his murder.
Till's killing, and the subsequent acquittal of Bryant and Milam sparked outrage across the country and is widely viewed as a tipping for the civil rights movement.
Wayne's lyrics opened an old wound for Till's family. His cousin, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, voiced her displeasure with Wayne and the lyrics in a February interview with Dr. Boyce Watkins.
“When we first found out about it, it was a coincidence that I discovered it. And read what it said I was instantly thinking about how Emmett Till was murdered," Gordon-Taylor said. “He was murdered for whistling at a white woman in 1955. So to compare his murder, and how brutally tortured he was to the anatomy of a woman was really very disrespectful. We found it dishonorable to his name, and what his death has meant to us as a people and as a culture. It was offensive, but not only to us, but our ancestors, and to women, and to themselves as young black men. I just couldn’t understand how you could compare the gateway of life to brutality and punishment of death,” she continued. "And I feel that they don’t have no pride and no dignity as black men. Our family was very, very offended. Very hurt, disturbed by it.“
Epic Records, Future's label, reached out to the family. Chairman and CEO LA Reid personally apologized during a phone call and promised to pull the song and remove the offensive lyrics.
Wayne still has not issued an apology to the family. Now they are preparing to try to convince Mountain Dew, a product of PepsiCo, to drop the rapper according to AllHipHop. A similar outcry by UltraViolet resulted in Rick Ross losing his endorsement deal with Reebok.
Gordon-Taylor, Director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, Simeon Wright and Pastor Wheeler Parker, Jr., who were witnesses to the Till tragedy, recently released a joint video expressing their disgust with the lyrics.
"When I heard the Wayne lyrics on the song I was shocked. I was outraged that someone would use Emmett Till in the rapping genre to disrespect not only Emmett Till, but our black women," Wright said. "Whatever happened to respect? Whatever happened to common sense? If we continue down this road we're going to destroy ourselves."
Gordon-Taylor added that the family supports radio stations pulling the song and blocking Wayne's endorsements.
"Don't do the Dew. Stop buying it. Stop lining his pockets," Gordon-Taylor urged.
She also encouraged fans to attend Wayne's upcoming "America's Most Wanted" tour.
"Don't support that tour. Don't support it if he's going to do that type of song. And it's going to promote a negative image regarding the memory and the legacy of Emmett Till."