Soul Singer Stevie Wonder is Disappointed with Lil Wayne Over Emmett Till Verse.
(ThyBlackMan.com) As a blind man, Stevie Wonder never saw the face of Emmett Till. But like millions of other Americans, Wonder can clearly see that Lil Wayne was wrong for blatantly disrespecting Emmett Till’s legacy. Stevie Wonder has spoken up in the national chorus to chastise Lil Wayne for a verse in the song, “Karate Chop,” where Wayne compares the face of Emmett Till to a woman’s v@gina after he finishes having s*x with her.
In case you don’t know, Emmett Till was beaten to death, shot, wrapped in barb wire, and thrown in the river as a 15-year old boy in 1955. His “crime” was whistling at a white woman. The death of Emmett Till and the iconic image of his tattered and swollen face was one of the leading sparks of the civil rights movement. It’s one of the reasons that men like Lil Wayne have their careers today.
“You can’t equate that to Emmett Till,” Stevie Wonder said. “You just cannot do that. … I think you got to have someone around you that — even if they are the same age or older — is wiser to say, ‘Yo, that’s not happening. Don’t do that.’”
I wrote my own thoughts on the matter a couple of days ago and also did an interview with a spokesperson from the Till family. I was happy to see that the rest of the world got the memo, and I plan to join Rev. Jesse Jackson’s people when they protest the radio stations that continue to promote poisonous lyrics that are so detrimental to our community. The fact is that I’ve studied Lil Wayne’s music for years, and I can tell you that this lyric is really just the tip of the iceberg. Millions of young black kids are hearing these messages every single day, and we then wonder why they are so determined to destroy themselves and kill each other.
“Sometimes people have to put themselves in the place of people who they are talking about,” Stevie Wonder said. “Imagine if that happened to your mother, brother, daughter or your son. How would you feel? Have some discernment before we say certain things. That goes for me or any other (song) writer.”
I’m glad that Stevie Wonder spoke up, and I was happy to hear that Epic Records has apologized. But we must also understand the nature and source of this kind of psychological poison. Lil Wayne is reflective of a music industry that consistently seeks out the most destructive and toxic black people they can find so they can give them the biggest microphone. A perfect case-in-point: The rapper Trinidad James, the closest thing to a minstrel show we’ve seen in about 80 years. I encourage you to carefully analyze James’ video and think deeply about how a young black male in “the hood” might internalize these images of manhood.
Someone emailed me to tell me that the man behind the music is not reflective of the person that Lil Wayne actually is. She told me that he only puts on an act for the public, and that the industry dictates that artists behave a certain way in order to sell records. I told the woman that I believed everything she was saying. The problem is that who you are means nothing relative to what you do. If I am a brave person at heart, but behave like a coward, then that effectively makes me into a coward, for that is my impact on the world around me.
A leading artist told me about a meeting he had with a record label that told him that his latest song was “too positive” and that he needed to “put more n*gga sh*t” in the song to make it sell. When we have an industry that is committed to bringing out the worst in us instead of our best, that industry needs to be DESTROYED. Lil Wayne probably has sides to his personality that are conscientious, intelligent, compassionate and productive. Unfortunately, commercialized hip-hop has developed a business model that provides strong incentives for us to hide our intelligence and replace it with ignorance. This should be unacceptable, since our children emulate the behavior they see in mass media.
So, Lil Wayne and other artists might want to educate themselves on the manner by which they are being used to feed young black men and women into the prison industrial complex. All the dead friends you rap about and your homies locked up for the next 100 years are a product of the culture that you seek to promote and glorify. By working with those who hate black people to hypnotize young children into committing themselves to a culture of self-destruction, you are becoming more of an enemy to black people than the KKK could ever be.
Think about THAT the next time you write a song about b*tches, guns and popping mollies (or other drugs). Brother, you’re killing your own people, so I hope the money was worth it.
Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins