Rapper J Cole has apologised for the “highly offensive” lyrics which refer to people with autism on the Drake track ‘Jedeci Freestyle’.
Cole had come under fire from people with autism for a line in the track which referred to rivals as “autistic” and “retarded” (“Go check the numbers dummy, that’s just me gettin’ started/ I’m artistic, you n****s is autistic, retarded”). Writing on his blog, Dreamvillain, he says he is “embarrassed” that he “would be ignorant enough say something so hurtful”.
The post reads: “In a recent verse on the song ‘Jodeci Freestyle’, I said something highly offensive to people with Autism. Last week, when I first saw a comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realised right away that what I said was wrong. I was instantly embarrassed that I would be ignorant enough say something so hurtful. What makes the crime worse is that I should have known better.”
It continues: “To the entire Autism community who expressed outrage, I’m moved and inspired by your passion, and I’m amazed at how strong you are as a unit. I have now read stories online from parents about their struggles and triumphs with raising an Autistic child and I admire how incredibly strong you have to be to do so. It’s touching. It also makes what I said even more embarrassing for me. I feel real shame. You have every right to be angry. To anyone suffering from Autism, either mildly or severely, I am sorry.”
He adds that he wants to educate himself about the issues surrounding Autism and serve as an example “that there’s nothing cool about mean-spirited comments” about people with the condition.
After the track was released last month, US charity Autism Speaks posted a blog from Lou Melgarejo, whose daughter has autism, which asked the two artists to consider the impact of their words. “Ultimately, you are free to say/rap/sing whatever you want,” he wrote “I am just asking that you please stop insulting those who often cannot defend themselves.”