Lil Wayne’s ‘Karate Chop’ Lyrics Offend Emmett Till’s Family
On the song, Weezy raps, "Beat that p---- up like Emmett Till.” Not only did the line anger Till's estate, but other members in the civil rights movement as well.
A quick history lesson: Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American teen from Chicago who was brutally tortured and murdered in 1955 by white racists in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Till’s senseless death sparked the Civil Rights Movement. At the funeral, Till’s mother wanted to have an open casket so mourners could see her son's disfigured face and the brutality up close.
Columnist Dr. Boyce Watkins spoke to Airickca Gordon Taylor, a spokesperson for the Till family, who says the family is disturbed and offended by Wayne's lyrics.
“To compare his murder and how beaten and how bullied and tortured he was to the anatomy of a woman was really very disrespectful,” Taylor states. “We found it dishonorable to his name and what his death has meant to us as a people and as a culture."
"I just couldn’t understand how you could compare the gateway of life to the brutality and punishment of death. And I feel as though they have no pride and no dignity as black men," she adds.
Civil right activist Bishop Tavis Grant of the Rainbow PUSH coalition supports the Till Family and has reached out to both Wayne and Future's record labels in an effort to stop the release and distribution of the offending song.
"Rev. Jesse Jackson has expressed outraged over this," Grant says about Weezy's lyrics. "The idea in the context of domestic violence, black women are disproportionately maimed and left with lifelong injuries from domestic violence. I'm a lover of hip-hop, I'm a lover of rap. I've watched Lil Wayne transform, I watched Future break in to the industry, but their impact has become an infection.
"It adds insult to injury that they would think they have license to take a historical figure…[and] cross the line of disrespecting women and glorifying domestic violence."
Grant also states that anyone who supports the 'Karate Chop' remix by distributing the song or the video are "guilty by association" and will be dealt with. "This behavior has to be checked," he explains. "It's unacceptable and it's disrespectful."
Reps for both Lil Wayne and Future's labels, Cash Money and Epic Records, respectively, have yet to comment on the matter.
Was Lil Wayne out of line with his lyrics on the 'Karate Chop' Remix? Tell us in the comments below.
Listen to Dr. Boyce Watkins Interview With the Emmett Till Family