By Maurice Bobb
Lil Wayne should get together with fellow rap mogul and product pitchman Rick Ross and teach a college course on semantics because, collectively, they are masters in creating mazes of circular logic when dancing around an apology. Call it “Semantics 101.”
First, it was Rozay who had to make a full mea culpa to women’s rights groups after initially issuing a non-apology for using rape lyrics in the remix to Rocko’s “U.O.E.N.O.,” a move that ultimately cost him his lucrative endorsement deal with Reebok. Now, it’s Weezy’s turn, as his controversial lyric on Future’s “Karate Chop (remix)” mentioning Emmett Till (“Beat the pu–y up like Emmett Till”) has rubbed the family of the civil rights figure the wrong way to the point that the family is campaigning relentlessly for Mountain Dew to drop the Young Money founder from its roster of brand ambassadors.
In a move to stop the bleeding, Tunechi has released a statement “acknowledging” his lyrical misstep, but doesn’t go as far as “apologizing.” The statement begins with a respectful salutation to the family, then goes on to mention that Wayne is a recording artist “interested in word play.”
“It has come to my attention that lyrics from my contribution to a fellow artist’s song has deeply offended your family. As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain that your family has had to endure. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge your hurt, as well as the letter you sent to me via your attorneys,” Wayne said in the statement that was posted in full on Miss Info TV.
“Moving forward, I will not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in my music, especially in an inappropriate manner. I fully support Epic Record’s decision to take down the unauthorized version of the song and to not include the reference in the version that went to retail. I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue.”
Wayne goes on to express his “tremendous respect” for those civil rights trailblazers like Till, who was beaten and killed at the age of 14 in 1955 for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi, that paved the way for the liberty and opportunities that African-Americans enjoy today. Before signing off with his government name, Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., Wayne mentioned his many philanthropic pursuits in the community.
The open letter comes months after Epic Records removed the lyric from the song and apologized. That wasn’t enough for the Till family, though. Last month, representatives from the Till family and the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation released a YouTube video admonishing Wayne’s lyric and subsequently attacking Mountain Dew’s involvement with Tha Carter IV MC.
“We also support blocking and banning the endorsements. I’ve maintained through February, Don’t do the Dew. His biggest endorsement is through Pepsi’s Mountain Dew. Stop buying it, stop lining his pockets. People are outraged because they feel that he should apologize to our family,” a Till representative said to camera.
No word yet on whether or not the soft drink giant will actually drop Wayne due to mounting pressure from the Till family, but a similar statement from Ross was not enough to prevent the sneaker outfit from dropping him from the team. Wayne should have learned from the God Forgives, I Don’t rapper’s situation and issued a full-on “admission of error or discourtesy accompanied by an expression of regret” to appease his detractors before things get to the point where Mountain Dew has no choice but to severe ties with him, a move that could end up costing him millions.