NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A cousin of the late Emmett Till wonders if Lil Wayne understands just how damaging it was when he rapped a vulgar reference to the black U.S. teen whose death in 1955 became a significant moment in the civil rights movement.
Airickca Gordon-Taylor says Till's family would like an apology from Lil Wayne for the brief but disturbing lyric on Future's "Karate Chop" remix. But more than that, she'd like the platinum-selling New Orleans rapper to understand how his comparison of a sex act to the 14-year-old Chicago native's torture death in Mississippi is hurtful to the black community.
"It was a heinous murder," Gordon-Taylor said in a phone interview Thursday from Chicago. "He was brutally beaten and tortured, and he was shot, wrapped in barbed wire and tossed in the Tallahatchie River. The images that we're fortunate to have (of his open casket) that 'Jet' published, they demonstrate the ugliness of racism. So to compare a woman's anatomy — the gateway of life — to the ugly face of death, it just destroyed me. And then I had to call the elders in my family and explain to them before they heard it from some another source."
The Future remix with Weezy guesting was leaked on the internet over the weekend. Epic Records said Wednesday it regretted the unauthorized remix version and that it was employing "great efforts" to pull it down. The brief reference — just seven words — will be stricken from the song when it's officially released later.
The rapper made a crude reference to rough sex and used an obscenity. He indicated he wanted to do as much damage as had been done to Till.
Gordon-Taylor says Epic Chairman and CEO LA Reid personally reached out to her on a conference call Wednesday evening that included the Rev. Jesse Jackson to explain and apologize. Jackson said in a phone interview Thursday that Reid said on the call that Future and Lil Wayne were cooperative.
"Once he got the point he realized this was beyond the zone and he immediately pulled it," Jackson said. "And he talked with both artists, who agreed."
Weezy has made no comment, nor has he addressed the issue on his Twitter account. Gordon-Taylor says there's been no attempt to apologize so far.
Till was in Mississippi visiting family when he was killed for allegedly flirting with a white woman. He was beaten, had his eyes gouged out and was shot in the head before his assailants tied a cotton gin fan to his body with barbed wire and tossed his body into the Tallahatchie River. Two white men, including the woman's husband, were acquitted of the killing by an all-white jury.