Mountain Dew has dropped its endorsement deal with rapper Lil Wayne in the aftermath of his controversial lyrics in the remix of Future’s “Karate Chop,” reports the AP.
The lyrics in question have Wayne rapping that he’ll “beat the p**** up like Emmett Till,” which is a reference to the 1955 Mississippi beating and murder of black teenager Emmett Till, who was attacked after allegedly flirting with a white woman.
His body was dumped in a river and found days later. The two men who attacked Till were eventually acquitted of the crime, but Till became an icon in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s.
The remix version of “Karate Chop” was an unauthorized release that leaked in February. At the time, Epic Records said in a statement, “We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future’s `Karate Chop,’
which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics. Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his
family and the support of the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr., we are
going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version.”
Lil Wayne eventually addressed the issue himself, saying in a statement to the Till family:
“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.”
The Till family was not mollified, however, saying in a statement, “While it’s commendable that he has vowed to
respect the legacy of Emmett Till and his memory to ‘not use or
reference Emmett Till or the Till family in his music,’ this statement
falls short of an apology, as none is mentioned.”
And now the PepsiCo endorsement deal has been canceled.
A spokesperson for the company says, “We do not plan any additional work with Lil Wayne moving forward. His offensive reference to a
revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.”
In response to the endorsement cancellation, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, executive director of Mamie Till Mobley Foundation, says in a statement, “We commend Mountain Dew for taking action
towards better social responsibility, and now I finally feel that we can
exhale and focus on our beloved Mamie Till Mobley’s charge … Let’s get
on with the business of positive thinking and living.”