Emmett Till's family: Lil Wayne 'falls short' of apology

May 2, 2013 at 3:15 PM
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ROBBINS, Ill., May 2 (UPI) -- U.S. rapper Lil Wayne's attempt to mend fences with civil rights icon Emmett Till's family over an offensive lyric "falls short," a family representative said.

"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," Till cousin Airicka Gordon-Taylor wrote on the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation Facebook page.

The 30-year-old hip-hop artist had issued a statement saying, "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," he wrote. "I would like to take a moment to acknowledge your hurt, as well as the letter you sent to me via your attorneys."

Till is mentioned in Wayne's verse on the remix to rapper Future's 2013 single "Karate Chop."

The lyric "beat that [vulgar word for coward or weakling] up like Emmett Till" drew the Till family's ire.

Till, from Chicago, was 14 when he killed in Money, Miss., in 1955, by two white men who thought he had flirted with a white woman. The 21-year-old woman's husband and half-brother took Till from his great-uncle's home, where he had been visiting, and brought him to a barn where they beat him and gouged out one of his eyes before shooting him through the head and disposing of his body in the Tallahatchie River, weighting it with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire.

His body was retrieved from the river three days later.

Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam acknowledged they killed Till but only after they were acquitted in a kidnapping murder trial.

Till was returned to Chicago and his mother, who had raised him mostly by herself, insisted on a public funeral service with an open casket to show the world the brutality of the killing.

Epic Records, Wayne's label, apologized for Wayne's lyric and made efforts to take the song down from websites.

"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," Wayne's statement said. "I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalog."

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