L'il Wayne disgraces himself with vile reference to civil rights murder

Rapper L’il Wayne has long been thought of by the thinking hip hoppers out there as precisely the sort of ‘artist’ that devalued the cultural force behind the music by turning it into a sorry morass of lucre, superficiality and rampant ego. His tasteless content and contrived vocal style has never been well received by those who saw hip hop as a continuing expression of urban issues and traced a line from slavery and the civil rights movement.

And now he really has outdone himself. A version of his new track ‘Karate Chop’ features a despicable reference to the murder of Emmett Till in 1955 – a seminal event in the civil rights movement. Unbelievably, L’il Wayne actually draws a parallel between the savage, fatal beating of the 14 year old Till….and rough sex.

His record company, Epic has apologised to the family as chairman L.A. Reid said that it regretted that a remix of the song by rapper Future, in which Lil Wayne likens the beating of African-American Till to sex, had been leaked on the Internet.

"He (Reid) apologized to me and our family and stated the song is being pulled," said a post on the Facebook page of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation on Wednesday. Mobley, who died in 2003, was Till's mother.

"Mr. Reid stated the song was leaked out and he had not heard the lyric," the statement continued "He is a man of integrity that values our family's legacy and wouldn't allow such a heinous usage of Emmett Till's name or dishonour his memory."

Till's cousin Airickca Gordon-Taylor was unimpressed, saying the family had yet to hear from Lil Wayne.

Reid, himself an African American is one of the music industry's highest-profile executives and was a judge on the Fox singing competition "The X Factor" for two seasons. Stevie Wonder joined the debate too, blasting L’il Wayne for the horrific reference.

Chicago native, Till was beaten to death at the age of 14 for allegedly whistling at a white woman in the village of Money, Mississippi. After an all-white jury acquitted two white men of Till's murder, there was an outpouring of outrage and the flagrant injustice fuelled the resolve of the civil rights movement.

It really does beggar belief. If you want to reduce a conscious and powerful art form to the lowest common denominator as Wayne does – then fine. But to actually violate the memory of those profound struggles and betray your roots so casually is quite extraordinarily vile.

Written by Cyrus Bozorgmehr - Google+ Profile - More articles by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

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