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Lil Wayne Disrespects Emmett Till’s Family.

February 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Ent., Music, News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( When a rapper says he’s gonna “pop a pill” then “beat that p*ssy like Emmett Till,” that’s when we know that he might have gone just a little bit too far.  But that’s just what happened this week, and the Till family isn’t happy.

Lil Wayne and Future, two very talented hip-hop artists, have decided to push the envelope of disrespect by releasing a song called “Karate Chop.”  In the song, Lil Wayne takes the liberty of turning the mutilated face of Emmett Till into a weary s*x organ, ridiculing the agony experienced by this young man many years ago.   The matter is made is even sadder by the fact that Till’s legacy was trampled by Lil Wayne, Future and Universal Records right in the middle of Black History Month.

I spoke this week with Airickca Gordon Taylor, spokesperson for the Till family and as you can imagine, the family is outraged.

I just couldn’t understand how he could compare the gateway to life to the brutality and punishment of death,” said Gordon Taylor.

For those of us who aren’t familiar with the legacy of Emmett Till (apparently, Lil Wayne already is), Till was a 15-year old boy who was beaten beyond recognition and murdered for whistling at a white woman.  Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley, made the courageous decision to insist that her son be buried with an open casket so that the country could see how ugly the brutality of racial violence can become.  Mamie’s sacrifice sparkedLilWayne-EmmettTill international outrage and served as part of the fuel which created the foundation for the civil rights movement.

Over 50 years later, we now have black rappers who think it’s OK to compare this 15-year old boy’s face to a v****a.  I doubt that Dr. King would consider this to be progress.

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.

The cultural norms that continue to undermine who we are as a people are deliberately designed to keep us in a psychological prison from which many of us choose not to escape.  And for those of us who rise above the madness, we often find ourselves and our loved ones brutalized or killed by those who’ve been turned into psychological zombies.  A perfect case-in-point is the late Hadiya Pendleton, the young honor student who was murdered just a block away from the home of President Barack Obama.

Bishop Grant, Rev Jesse Jackson and the Emmett Till family aren’t just taking the fight to the artists themselves, they are taking it to the streets and the boardrooms.  Universal Records, the company that finances and sponsors the language being used in much of this music, should be held accountable.  I guarantee that if I were releasing music which said that “I’m going to beat that woman’s v*gina as if she were in a concentration camp,” I might not be able to get millions of dollars in financing to spread my message around the world.  Destructive hip-hop music is the kind of disrespect that is designed uniquely for black people only.

Some would say that the consumers are to blame for this madness on the airwaves.  They say that if people stop demanding this kind of music, it will simply go away. The problem is two-fold: 

1) Many of the people who purchase hip-hop music are white people who care nothing about how the music might affect the psyches of black youth, and

2) If you force a product down the throat of consumers long enough, they will eventually crave it in the same way that an alcoholic comes to desire poison in his body.

White people buy hip-hop, but are not as readily influenced by its messages.  They don’t see the artists as reflections of themselves, but as reflections the “authentic” black urban “gangsta” experience.  Black children, on the other hand, don’t have nearly as many media role models to choose from, and are often led to believe that music is their way out of the ghetto.  Bad parenting is not the only reason that many of our kids are led astray, since many good parents see their words drowned out by a world that teaches black children to kill themselves.

I’m not angry at Lil Wayne for making this music.  Lil Wayne is brilliant, creative and powerful, like Malcolm Little was before he met the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  Also like Malcolm, Lil Wayne was poisoned by a racist society, and his music is merely a symptom of the mental illness that America has built within him over the last 30 years.  Since he never met his own version of Elijah Muhammad, Wayne has become convinced to use his power to kill his community rather than lift it up. This is unfortunate.

But no matter how we view the actions of Lil Wayne himself, the bottom line is that we must love our kids more than we love this music.  We can support the value of artistic freedom while simultaneously demanding that our hip-hop artists and their corporate bosses show some degree of responsibility.  We can’t assume that anything goes, especially when the music so blatantly spits on the legacy of someone like Emmett Till.

In other words, some things are just sacred.

Staff Writer; Dr. Boyce Watkins 

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



27 Responses to “Lil Wayne Disrespects Emmett Till’s Family.”
  1. Lynn says:

    Carlos, black people don’t own the large distribution labels that put this kind of music out there. Who is Universal owned by? Who makes these kind of trash lyrics readily available? Rappers wouldn’t have as large of a platform to spew this trash if they weren’t financed by big corporations owned by white people who choose to market this garbage to the black youth.

  2. S. McMillan-Jones says:

    Yet another reason why Lil’ Wayne needs to stop making “music” anytime you can show this much disregard for Emmett Tills memory having such an influence on the our youth and have no remorse for it is disgusting and needs to be stopped immediately.

  3. thomas price says:

    thats how it was back then not cool wayne

  4. Carl says:

    Wayne stepped the mark by about a mile with this one. Horrible thing to say in something that wasn’t even a spur of the moment thing. He’d have listened to that during production many times before it was sent out officially. But this comment in the article drew my attention:

    “1) Many of the people who purchase hip-hop music are white people who care nothing about how the music might affect the psyches of black youth”

    Wow. That’s a very big brush to be painting on an entire group of people based solely on their skin colour.

  5. Alex Green says:

    It’s so sad that the struggles of previous generations can be chewed up and spat on like this by a
    young man who has such influence for change amongst U.S youth.

  6. Unknown says:

    @ Carlos This guy is dead on! What Lil Wayne is doing, goes well beyond skin colour, it is a disgusting act. Those who committed the fault are clearly the ones to blame regardless of creed… And saying that white people do not acknowledge the lyrics is a poor point, and I see no evidence on this statement. We all deserve equal rights and somehow you have found a way to blame white people for the actions of 3 men?! You may think you are the solution but my opinion is: you are actually the problem. People should see this as an immoral act not a racist one. Although the original act may have been one of racism, this should not be seen as one. Do i judge the black community on one or 2 men’s actions? Why are you stereotyping white people?

  7. sam says:

    a generation is every 30-35 years, a pop generation is every 10 years.

  8. Carlos says:

    @DB – There are generations upon generations that haven’t seen true freedom? Can you show me some examples of these generations, because I’m not aware of any “generation” or group of individuals that don’t have their fundamental human rights protected by the Constitution in the United States.

    Careful with your words. You (perhaps inadvertently) disparage and minimize the true strife that people endured during the civil rights movement. No one within this generation or the last will ever understand what they went through 3+ generations ago (where a “generation” is defined as 20 years).

  9. Lee says:

    Lil Wayne is just another ignorant, stupid “Coin”, the white man’s best ally…What other race tosses it’s culture in the toilet, in favor of profit, celebrity, & groupies??? What a sad-ass sellout…

  10. Eleanie says:

    I’m speechless. This has even surprised me.

  11. kwabena says:

    good article, but i disagree with the brilliance of lil’ wayne. he gets pushed because he in turn pushes garbage to the minds of the masses. I’ve read where this fool has rapped about having a girls suck his dogs d***. he sounds retarded most of the time and gets lil or no respect from true hiphop heads.

  12. Chuck says:

    Ok, stories like this, while sad, are not surprising.

    What is additionally questionable is why you edit out words such as sex and vagina. I mean, this are not profane words, they are not words that are negative in their intent. What is the purpose here?

    Just makes a sad story even sadder.

  13. DB says:

    Are you serious Carlos? Things absolutely have to move past the cause in order to improve but you can’t live in this country and not know the connection, even if you aren’t a black male yourself. Slavery isn’t that many years done with and there are generations and generations of people that have yet to truly see freedom.

    You can even go beyond black and do a study on Colorism which impacts people all across the world with the message of light is right. That deep seed of ignorance were planted by white people. Again I say we have to move beyond the cause or we’ll never get anywhere but to not know or acknowledge the issue is crazy.

  14. realman says:

    Lil’ Wayne is nothing but ignorant toxic trash.

  15. Carlos says:

    So the conclusion you draw is that this is because of the “White man?” How racist, to focus entirely on the color of skin. And similarly, how convenient. Are you really suggesting that hip hop is mostly supported by white Americans, and that because of that support, they are somehow causing these polluted messages to be spread throughout the nation? And are you suggesting that Lil Wayne, and every single bigoted, ignorant hip hop artist for that matter, is the result of a brainwashing by white people?

    I tell you one thing, good luck ever fixing an issue for which you can’t acknowledge fault. This problem is rooted entirely in the hip hop community, and manifests itself in majority African American communities, and while I empathize with your cause, your conclusion is severely misguided, and most likely the product of deep-seated racism within yourself.

    Look only to the members of your community to find fault. I assure you, there is no “brainwashing” or “rampant racist society” at large here (please don’t conflate that with racism being non-existent). It’s plain and simple ignorance, at every level. From parenting to media figures to pseudo-intellectuals (yourself included).

    You only perpetuate division and racism.



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