Lil Wayne, Emmett Till Lyrics a Quick Note. : ThyBlackMan

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lil Wayne, Emmett Till Lyrics a Quick Note.

February 14, 2013 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( Quick note from Dr. Boyce:  Thanks you to you who’ve supported our efforts to confront Universal Records and the horrible song they were planning to release disrespecting Emmett Till.  I spoke with Rev. Jesse Jackson yesterday, Bishop Tavis Grant, and the spokesperson for the Emmett Till family about the issue, and there is good news to report:

1) LA Reid, who represents the artist Future (on the song with Lil Wayne), agreed to take the lyrics out of the song.

2) Clear Channel has agreed not to play the song – I’m not sure if this is a nation-wide agreement or just in Chicago, I’ll ask Rev. Jackson when we speak over the weekend.

There is still more to be done – Rev. Jackson makes the accurate point that

a) the artist Lil Wayne should acknowledge that some of the music that he releases is harmful to his people:  Promoting a lifestyle of excessivemusic-emmett-till-lil-wayne drug/alcohol consumption, gun violence, s*xual irresponsibility and disrespect for women is disruptive to the psyches of young children who grow up hearing this message on the radio every single day (any good psychologist will tell you this).

b) Universal Records should sit down for a meeting with those who care about the issue (I have made myself available for such a meeting, but I’d be satisfied if they met with Rainbow Push and the Emmett Till family) to talk about long-term, systematic changes that need to be made to the artistic business model.  I swear that the next time I write about some brother who’s done horrible things to other black people because he’s “thugged out” like some rapper on the radio, I’m going to lose my mind.

To help you understand why I am so adamant about the impact that music has on the minds of children, I’ll kick in some of what I learned from studying Marketing.  When Nike puts a pair of sneakers on LeBron James and pays him $10 million dollars to do it, LeBron doesn’t have to say, “Go buy Nikes.”  People purchase the shoe because LeBron markets a lifestyle that includes wearing Nike sneakers.  The model is proven to work, which is why Nike pays him millions of dollars.

The same is true for hip-hop.  When artists repeatedly say, “I smoke weed everyday,” “I’ll shoot that n*gga in the face,” or “b*ches ain’t sh*t,” they don’t have to say, “Please go shoot another black man and please smoke weed before you do it.” The lifestyle is being marketed solely because a popular celebrity is professing it to be his own. That’s no different from LeBron James saying, “I wear my Nike sneakers whenever I play.”

The impact of commercialized hip-hop is even greater than that of a Nike commercial, because hip-hop demands a type of authenticity that is not necessary to market a corporate product – for example, when Lil Wayne says he’s a member of the Bloods street gang, he can’t just say, “Oh, I was just pretending” (he would die for this kind of lie). But if it’s found out that LeBron actually wears Adidas instead of Nike, this wouldn’t get him killed.

We’ve got to be intelligent about how this music is affecting our kids.  As the recent death of Hadiya Pendleton showed us, this is NOT a game.  With all due respect to the extraordinary creative genius possessed by artists like Lil Wayne, I think it’s critical that we begin to educate them on ways in which their powerful words so easily sway the minds of young black children.  You shouldn’t be using your platforms to destroy the people who love you.

Previous Article; Lil Wayne Disrespects Emmett Till’s Family (——

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition.  For more information, please visit



2 Responses to “Lil Wayne, Emmett Till Lyrics a Quick Note.”
  1. sam says:

    rewind yourself back to 1993 and conscious rap was –> “done” on the commercial side of things, we had entered into the ain’t nuthin but a g thang era, it’s called a conditioning process many on here probaly nodded their heads to people like dr.dre snoop dog, biggie smalls etc, the problem is some those people 20+ years later continue nodding their heads to it, that’s the process of conditioning that we like to ignore in our community people like lil wayne and many before him are nothing more than people who are an example of their conditioning process. Of course their conditioning process is on the low bar scale.

  2. Thomas Martin says:

    Good article and honestly what I say here in a comment will not change anything. I just recently heard of the controversial lyrics. Yes they are messed up but no amount of meeting with this or that organization or person will fix the root of the problem. Is it the responsibility of the artist (I use this loosely) to acknowledge that their lyrics are bad for pople or is it the responsibility of the consumers to not buy terrible music. I’m 39; hip-hop is the music of my generation. No one demands more from them. The “conscious” raps of the late 80’s and 90’s has gone pretty much extinct. The bar has dropped pretty low because the consumers no longer demand it. This is reflected throughout American pop culture. People want low hanging fruit. What can be easily grown and cultivated, what can get to the market quicker. Isn’t is interesting that when we follow this pattern, in most areas of our lives, it brings on disease and discontent? Having Lil Wayne apologize will be nice for the family and for some others. Universal will still sell the song and profit. He will still profit and the consumer will just keep picking the low hanging fruit.

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