Mitchell: The history of Emmett Till means nothing to Lil Wayne
BY MARY MITCHELL email@example.com February 13, 2013 7:40PM
Updated: March 15, 2013 1:43PM
If you don’t respect yourself, don’t expect anyone else to respect you.
Fortunately, when Lil Wayne made a rap song that included a vulgar lyric about Emmett Till, there were enough black men left from the civil rights era to put a stop to it.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson tweeted Wednesday afternoon that as soon as he found out about Wayne and his Till comment, he spoke with L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic Records, and “had the comment removed.”
Airickca Gordon-Taylor, the founding director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation, noted on her Facebook page that Reid “apologized to me and our family and said the song is being pulled.”
Gordon-Taylor said she was told, “the song was leaked out and [Reid] had not heard the lyrics.”
“[Reid] is a man of integrity that values our family’s legacy and wouldn’t allow such heinous usage of Emmett Till’s name or dishonor his memory,” she said.
Till was 14 when he was brutally murdered during a visit to see his relatives in the South. His murder in 1955 help ignite the civil rights movement.
That history obviously meant nothing to Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne M. Carter Jr.
At 30 years old, Lil Wayne is living the life that most folks from poor neighborhoods can only dream about. He is described as one of the best-selling hip-hop musicians in the country.
Apparently that must be the reason Lil Wayne thought he could get away with denigrating a civil rights icon.
In a contribution on the track of another rapper, Lil Wayne linked Till’s name to a crude name for sex.
“Pop a lot of pain pills
’Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels
Beat that p---- up like Emmett Till.”
Gordon-Taylor had complained that “Karate Chop” is disappointing, dishonorable, and outright disrespectful to [her] family.”
By late Wednesday afternoon, Jackson had settled the dispute and gotten the lyrics removed from the “official recording.”
But as of Wednesday evening, there had been no public apology from Lil Wayne.
Although the track has not yet been released for sale and is being circulated online, the harm is already done.
When a controversy pops up over rap lyrics, young people flock to their gadgets to find out what the fuss is all about.
But this should not be the end of it.
On Friday, President Barack Obama will be in town to discuss the ongoing gun violence.
Lil Wayne’s disrespect toward Till should serve to remind us that we shouldn’t ignore the music industry’s role in gun violence.
There is a lot of financial investment in rap artists that glorify jails, unlawful behavior and guns.
Last month, one of the city’s most popular rappers, Chief Keef, was locked up in juvenile detention for violating his probation on a gun conviction.
It wasn’t enough for Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart, to be a talented rapper.
His promoters wanted to boost his bad-boy image by posing the 17-year-old at a gun range to promote a rap video despite the conditions of his probation.
While responsible adults are trying to send the message to young people to resist picking up a gun, the rap industry is producing music that tells young people that life doesn’t matter, and to get high and shoot somebody.
Lil Wayne’s “F--- The World” is a good example:
“A young n---- screaming f--- the world and let ’em die.
Behind tints, tryna’ duck the world and smoking rie.
Got my bandanna ’round my head and pants to my feet.
And got my eyes fire red and Glock on my seat.”
In 2010, Lil Wayne spent eight months in jail on a weapons conviction. Last month, he landed a deal with a publishing company to write his memoir about his jail stint.
But the young people driving around with “red eyes” and “Glocks on their seats” aren’t going to be laughing all the way to the bank.
They are the ones who are going to be filling up the jails and the graves.
Defending Emmett Till’s honor is easy.
It’s been a lot harder to protect a generation of young people being poisoned by this garbage.