Emmett Till’s Family Pens Open Letter To Lil Wayne

In a letter sent exclusively to Vibe, the Till family wants Lil Wayne to be held accountable for his lyrics and to think before he speaks. This letter comes a week after Wayne received backlash from his controversial Emmett Till lyrics used in his song “Karate Chop (Remix)”.

Below is an excerpt from the two page letter:

Yesterday marked a week since the “unofficial” release of “Karate Chop~remix” inclusive of your lyrics. The words we speak are powerful enough for preservation of life but also have the capacity to destroy it. When you spit lyrics like “Beat that p—-y up like Emmett Till”, not only are you destroying the preservation and legacy of Emmett Till’s memory and name, but the impact of his murder in black history along with degradation of women.

The tongue possesses power! I could offer you a history lesson and talk about the trailblazers that paved the way for our people and lyricists to engage in freedom of speech such as Marcus Garvey, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mamie Till Mobley; but this isn’t an argument about freedom of speech. It is critical that we stay true to urgency of the hour… our youth! Your “celebrity” thrusts you into the spotlight affording you the opportunity to embrace your role as a black man, father, friend, and artist that has the ability to reach international audiences. Are you bothered in the least by the staggering statistics of the extinction of our children?

The letter ended with an open invitation for Wayne to right his wrongs, by joining in the efforts to educate others on Till’s legacy. You can read the rest of the letter here.

Even though Epic Records removed the Till verse from its release, do you think Lil Wayne respond personally?

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  • Kam

    Actually I just came across a lyric by Lil Wayne that demeans C. Delores Tucker. She tried to warn us, but did nothing. Eminem has lyrics demeaning her, Tupac has lyrics demeaning her and we did nothing. When Outkast wrote a song called “Rosa Parks” about the back of the bus that called women hoes and freely used the n-word, nothing was done. What all this amounts to is that we’ve sent the message that we don’t care when rappers demean Civil Rights icons. And I find it not surprising that in a genre filled with such misogyny that they were allowed to demean such prominent women and no one batted an eye. Chickens coming home to roost.

    • Anon

      People have been tryiing to warn us for years. Rap music is about one of the few things the conservative movement truly had their finger on the pulse of.

      All of the people whining about “petitions” really don’t understand that you HAVE to put boundaries into play about how people can represent you, or call you. There have been black women saying this for years to no avail.

    • True Anon good point you have to set boundaries for everything in life because if anything that is good get out of it’s boundaries it becomes destructive love, water, fire etc.

    • Chelley5483


  • MommieDearest

    Thank you for saying this Kam. While I applaud the Till family for speaking out to protec their son’s legacy, I think it’s sad that it took this for enough people to recognize how dangerous Lil Wayne and his ilk really are. As far as I’m concerned, they went too far years ago when they started degrading women, particularly black women, in their lyrics. Kudos to the Till family for acknowledging it in their letter.

    Maybe this will spark black women who have been previously silenced to speak up again- louder and stronger. I pray that black men will join them too, so that we can reverse this insidious trend before it’s too late.

  • LemonNLime

    When I had my first garden, I planted a tons of seeds. As they sprouted, veteran gardeners told me to thin them out (remove a few) or else it would cause problems later on, but I thought they were too cute and let them stay. Weeks later, parts of my garden were out of control and overgrown and no matter how much I tried to tackle the issue, it was too late.

    That is exactly how I feel about lil wayne and others like him in addition to the general ills of the black community. They are one of the many seedlings that may people found to be harmless or ignored or even liked, even though many told us early on that people like him and their “music” should never see the light of day. Now, look at these so called artists. They are one of the many blights in the garden that is the black community.

    The only way to get rid of the blight and overgrowth is to 1. work hard work, nurture, and dedicate the time needed to try and regain control of the garden, 2. remove everything and hope that it isn’t too late in the season to start again, or 3. give up, lose control, and wait until winter destroys it all. It is scary how similar the choices are for us.

  • VXR

    There are no words to describe the level of disgust I feel. I am sick. It is a sad day when Lil Wayne can produce a song that is so low. I can only shake my head and wonder what is next? How much is enough? I will never understand why a fool like this is able to make a living.

  • Echi

    Our mothers and fathers are just rolling in their graves.