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Pepsi has decided to drop Lil Wayne from their Mountain Dew soda campaign after making a crude reference about Emmett Till. Till was killed in 1955 while visiting family in Mississippi after allegedly whistling at a white woman. In Lil Wayne’s song he links a sexual reference to the killing of Till. Pepsi’s released a statement, “We do not plan any additional work with Lil Wayne moving forward. His offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.”
Wayne did apologize saying after the Till family reacted to the song with “utter shock, disappointment and sadness.”
As a recording artist, I have always been interested in word play. My lyrics often reference people, places and events in my music, as well as the music that I create for or alongside other artists.
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. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge your hurt, as well as the letter you sent to me via your attorneys.
Moving forward, I will not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in my music, especially in an inappropriate manner. I fully support Epic Record’s decision to take down the unauthorized version of the song and to not include the reference in the version that went to retail. I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue.
I have tremendous respect for those who paved the way for the liberty and opportunities that African-Americans currently enjoy. As a business owner who employs several African-American employees and gives philanthropically to organizations that help youth to pursue their dreams my ultimate intention is to uplift rather than degrade our community.
Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
The Till family responded,
“Just as Mamie Till Mobley didn’t endure the pain of losing Emmett Till alone, many people have stood in solidarity with our family, even if it wasn’t the most popular stand to take,” Airickca Gordon-Taylor, Executive Director of the foundation, said in a statement. “This decision was monumental, we commend Mountain Dew for taking action towards better social responsibility, and now I finally feel that we can exhale and focus on our beloved Mamie Till Mobley’s charge… Let’s get on with the business of positive thinking and living.”
Photo from PR Photos