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Lil Wayne apologises to family of key civil rights figure for sexually explicit lyrics

Rapper compared his bedroom technique to the murder of Emmett Till in 1955

Ed Miles/NME
Pic: Ed Miles/NME
Lil Wayne has apologised to the family of civil rights hero Emmett Till after making a derogatory reference to him in a rap.

The rapper has been criticised for his verse on Future's 'Karate Chop (remix)' in which he raps, "'Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels. Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till". Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till was brutally murdered in 1955 after apparently flirting with a married white woman.

In a letter to Till's family Wayne wrote: "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."

The 30-year-old goes on to write that in the future he will not reference Emmett Till or the Till family in any of his music, especially in a negative way, or perform the lyrics live, as well as removing them from his catalogue. "I fully support Epic Records’ decision to take down the unauthorised version of the song and to not include the reference in the version that went to retail."

However, Till's cousin Airickca Gordon-Taylor told TMZ: '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."

There have been calls from the Till family and many other civil rights activists, including Jesse Jackson, for Lil Wayne to be dropped by his main corporate sponsor, Mountain Dew. The drinks company also courted controversy on Wednesday (May 1) as an advert directed by Tyler, The Creator was pulled from the air after being criticised for being racist and downplaying violence against women.


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