Over the weekend, Future dropped a remix to his “Karate Chop” track that features Lil Wayne. During his verse, Weezy dropped a disrespectful punchline that used the name of Emmett Till. The family of the then 14-year-old Black boy that was murdered in 1955 in Mississippi for whistling at a white woman is none too happy about said line.
On the “Karate Chop (Remix),” Weezy raps, “Beat that p-ssy up like Emmett Till.”
For the record, the late Emmett Till wasn’t just beat up. After being kidnapped, he was beaten on throughout the night, shot and then tossed into the Mississippi River with a 7o-pound fan tied around his neck with barbed wire to keep his body from floating back up. Till’s corpse did eventually rise and was found a couple of day later by two boys fishing. Despite his head and face being heinously mutilated, his mother demanded to have an open casket at her son’s funeral so everyone could see what was done to her child.
Till’s murder was a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement, which in turn helped Wayne maintain his lavish lifestyle today.
Activist and scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins spoke to a representative of the Till family named Airickca Gordon Taylor (listen to the full conversation below). “We found it dishonorable to his name and what his death has meant to us as a people and as a culture,” said Gordon Taylor. “It was offensive not only to us, but not only to us but to our ancestors and to women and to themselves as young, Black men. I just don’t understand how you could compare the gateway of life to the brutality and punishment of death. And I felt as though they have no pride and no dignity as Black men.”
Wayne isn’t the first rapper to use Emmett Till’s name in a suspect line. In 2004, Remy Ma made an off color remark about Till’s face on Terror Squad’s “Yeah Yeah Yeah.”
Watkins and others are making a call to action about lyrics like these having ill effects on consumers.
Rev. Jesse Jackson and his associate, Bishop Tavis Grant of the Rainbow/Push Coalition have spoken up on the matter, and I’ve promised to give them my support. Hip-hop music is one of the most powerful and persuasive art forms in the history of the world, and it is now being used to enslave the minds of young black people so that they might become food for the prison industrial complex. Lil Wayne’s reference to till is just the latest effort to dumb down black America and to produce messages that are nothing short of disgustingly toxic.
Many potential black male father figures have been extracted from our community and sent to the concentration camps of the prison industrial complex, given dozens of years for sometimes minor offenses. All the while, their sons grow up without fathers, and are taught on the radio how to get high and drunk every day, to kill other black men, and to disrespect the black women who raised them. Lil Wayne’s music is a reflection of this reality, as a man who is as brilliant as the great Malcolm X has been convinced to use his powers for evil rather than good.
You can see photos of Emmett Till (they are not for the squeamish) at his funeral in the gallery, and there is nothing funny about them.
Let us know what you think of Lil Wayne’s Emmitt Till rhyme and its potential ramifications in the comments.
[Spotted at Rap Radar]
Photos: Jet Magazine, Till Estate