Lil Wayne isn’t the first rapper to drop an Emmett Till reference, but apparently Weezy’s reference to the teenage Civil Right’s icon on the remix of Future’s song “Karate Chop” was a little too off color for Till’s family.
Emmett Till was a 14 year-old African-American boy from Chicago. In 1955 he was beaten to death by a white mob in Mississippi, where he was visiting family, after allegedly flirting with a white woman. On “Karate Chop,” Wayne says he will “Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till.” Till’s family are mightily pissed off. Via Hip Hop DX:
While speaking with Dr. Boyce Watkins, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, the founding director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation and cousin of Emmett Till, spoke on behalf of the family of Till. She referred to Lil Wayne’s Emmett Till lyric as being both “dishonorable” and “offensive.”
“To compare his murder and how beaten and how bullied, beatened, and tortured he was to the anatomy of a woman was really very disrespectful,” said Taylor in a video posted on RapRadar.com. “We found it dishonorable to his name and what his death has meant to us as a people and as a culture. It was offensive not only to us, but to our ancestors and to women and to themselves as young, black men. I just couldn’t understand how you could compare the gateway of life to the brutality and punishment of death. And I feel as though they have no pride and no dignity as black men.”
She went on to question Wayne’s place in popular culture as a whole.
“Our family was very offended, very hurt,” Taylor revealed. “Disturbed by it…Our young people they emulate what they see, what they hear, and what they’re immersed in. And then we question them as they grow up and become citizens and they’re supposed to be productive in society and they’re not productive. And society is already criminalizing our young, black men at every opportunity they have. So it just really concerns us that here you are using Emmett Till’s name in such an egregious way and you’re not having any respect for yourselves as well as our family. And that’s the biggest concern. We’re concerned about our young people as well as the image of Emmett Till.”
Members of the Till family are starting an online campaign to have the song dropped from DJ Smallz’ This is That Southern Smoke mixtape, which is due to drop this weekend.