Emmett Till’s Family Pens Open Letter To Lil Wayne

by Yesha Callahan

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?

  • Ash

    I applaud the Till family for bringing more attention to Lil Wayne’s foolishness. He seems to have no morals and will say and do anything for a dollar.

  • Misshightower

    People in pain cause pain.

  • bijoux

    What is even more disgusting than the song are these radio stations playing it. Yesterday I was daydreaming while Hot 97 was on and I didn’t recognize the song that was playing till I heard the line. I was very shocked.

    Idiots like this one will keep making these kinds of songs if these radio stations don’t mind playing them. If hot 97 and the rest ban his music, then Wayne can make music just for him and his producer. Maybe for Reginae too if he thinks there’s nothing wrong with it.

  • Chelley5483

    Lil Wayne is pure filth. As someone so eloquently put it, on another website: His daughter, Reginae, is almost the same age as Till when he was murdered. If God forbid, something as tragic happened to her in the name of racism and hatred, would he use her name in the place of Till’s as a reference in explaining how he’d “beat the p*ssy up?”

    Done with this ewok. This little boy needs an ass-whooping for this. Everyday I’m becoming more and more convinced of how shallow, selfish, simple and weak a lot of people are these days.

    How can one take a guy walking around with a plastic cup full of cold medicine, liquor and kool-aid 24/7 seriously? This is who we give our hard earned dollars to to make HIM richer? He’s not dropping jewels, creating great art, enriching our lives in any way.

    Overrated little f*cktard. Sorry but this little turd pisses me the hell off.

  • Jenae

    I am disgusted that he would even speak his name in such a manner. Especially being from the deep South, is he really that out of touch? He was just a 14 year old boy. Is nothing sacred/off limits anymore? Perhaps he needs to read up on that case again, and take a look at that open casket, and really reconsider if that is something that should be taken so lightly.

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    The Emmett TIll story has always resonated with me since I watched “Eyes on the Prize: as a sixth grader. I have always had a solemn respect for the story, for Emmett and for his mother…I have read, watched and researched everything on this horrific murder which NO ONE has every been convicted for…Karma will get Lil Wayne soon enough…you can see it in his eyes, its only a matter of time for him.

  • Margaret

    I can only hope he reads the letter and takes it to heart. I’d love to see/hear a Lil Wayne use his incredible talent to talk about relevant issues instead of the degrading nonsense he currently spits out.

  • Rakel

    It was interesting to see the outrage surrounding this. I’m so glad people spoke out. Especially the Till family, how hurtful to them to hear that. I also love that they highlighted Lil Wayne’s degradation of Black women (hell let’s just say his degradation of women going forth). He is so damn ignorant but IDK why people were surprised he said something like that. Look how he talks about women, does that seem like a person that has an ounce of respect for anything or anybody? He’s a minstrel show looking for a quick buck and just like people are calling him out for disrespecting Emmet Till and Mamie Till I would love to see that same commitment to his misogynistic lyrics.

  • http://www.urbanexpressive.com J. Nicole

    While I’m happy the family spoke up, and it will bring awareness to what happened to Emmett Till, I doubt Lil Wayne will “man up” and do the right thing. Sometimes we have to accept the fact that some people are ignorant.

  • I got sense!


  • Ask_ME

    Did anyone see the most recent episode of Unsung about Disco? In the late 1970s people sick of disco got together at Yankee stadium and burned disco records. After that records companies wouldn’t touch disco.

    We need to do something like that with rap/hip-hop. We should take over Turner Stadium (Atlanta) and burn rap/hip-hop records. Maybe then record companies will get the picture.

  • Rakel

    Thank you!!! I was side eyeing the hell out of that comment.

  • Humanista

    I suppose I may be a pessimist, but with the state of bs commercial rap these days, I’m shocked that it’s taken this long for a line such as this one to appear on a track. It’s a real shame. Everyone attached to that song should be held accountable, whether they contributed to the song itself or had any role in publicizing it.

  • Chelley5483

    [Verse 3 - Lil Wayne]
    Pop a lot of pain pills
    ‘Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels
    Yeah, beat that pussy up like Emmett Till
    Yeah… ahaha
    Two cell phone ringin’ at the same time
    That’s your hoe, callin’ from two different phones
    Tell that bitch: ‘leave me the fuck alone’
    See you fuck her wrong, and I fuck her long
    I got a love-hate relationship with Molly
    I’d rather pop an ollie, and my dick is a trolly
    Boy, I’ll bury you like Halle
    And these hoes say I’m blind
    Cause I don’t see nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind
    Man I just received a package, them other niggas taxin’
    And my pockets so fat, I’m startin’ to feel contractions
    And my cousin went to jail for them chickens
    And he already home and that nigga must be snitchin’
    Cut him off like karate

    Yeah like I Got Sense asked…. Talent?????????

  • AnGe

    I read the letter the Till family wrote and I you can clearly hear how disgusted and hurt they are. I just can’t get over how gross Wayne’s lyrics were. Of course there are those that say this is nothing new for hip hop but every step of the way we are cutting deeper and deeper into our own culture.

    If there is a human being remaining in Wayne, he will apologize. Showing respect is not a b*tch move.

  • Mike Henley

    “Apologize, And let’s move on”

  • Wow

    The contrast between the two photos says it all.

  • What?

    OMFG!!!!!!! He gets paid for this?

  • http://tontonmichel.tumblr.com Tonton Michel

    It was a moving letter but I don’t think they will get anywhere with Wayne.

  • What?

    “overrated little f*cktard…” Ewok!!!!! Classic.

    Luvs it!!!!!!

  • Chelley5483

    @ What?

    Oh yes. And from what we see here as he’s beautifully described his pay, ‘his pockets so fat, he’s startin to feel contractions.’

    F*ckery at it’s finest, right?

  • http://gravatar.com/keimia 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.

  • NoShame!

    There are my thoughts exactly. Lil Wayne’s fame and wealth makes him believe he is as well as his children are immune to any unforeseen tragedies. He could care less. So then, it follows that he will say whatever without any second thoughts.

    I felt the pain within this letter. He could call or send a Hallmark card expressing his sorrow. Maybe he has, but I seriously doubt it. I commend the Till Mobley family so greatly. At least they are making it abundantly clear that they refuse to allow Emmett’s name to lose its iconic honor. If not, the way in which the music industry recycle lyrics — God forbid — someone else may say something as horrific.

    Who would have ever thought that we as AA would have to fight against a black man or beg for his sympathy to ensure a murdered “black” teen legacy remains untarnished? I’m hoping there is some sorrow within Lil Wayne’s spirit. . For some people, tragedy has to hit home for them to make a change. Until then, I believe he just will not care.

  • 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.

  • Anon

    Have you heard about how he talks about black women??? How can anyone be surprised by this? And notice how women are being beaten in the lyric, but that is being completely overlooked.

  • Anon

    Yep, heard from the Dixie Chicks after that whole campaign?

    Frankly, the main problem would be the number of black women that would protest such a move.

  • Chelley5483


  • Treece

    You have expressed what I was going to say perfectly…..thank you! F*cktard indeed…..

  • Treece

    I agree, disco should’ve stuck around if we would’ve known rap and hip hop would come to this…..it’s sad. But there are not enough of us (Americans, b/c White people listen to this bull**it too; number one consumers as far as $$ is concerned) to oppose it. Also, hip hop fans are more agressive in thier support of garbage rap music (not all rap, just the trash like what Lil Wayne puts out there). They won’t just take it lying down like the kings and queens of disco. Rap/hip-hop culture is popular culture. Too much money being made off of it and too much money to be made.It will take a hell of a lot for it to go away.

  • 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.

  • Anon

    I’m already seeing some effects of it “going away”. Or at least the beginnings of it. 6 years or so ago, folks needed a step by step instruction manual on why these exploitive BW reality shows were dangerous. Now, it is more than two or three people that are calling companies, having advertising pulled, etc… . And it can start small. I’ve cut folks off who have tried to defend it’s “expression/artistic” aspects. And told them why I was doing so. If you can dance around to a man describing you in the basest of terms to a world-wide audience, then dance away to someone calling you a h*e. It just won’t be near me.

    For there to be a REAL difference in rap culture, there needs to be a line drawn. Basically, if you defend that mess, then you have to STAY with that mess. No getting offended by Emmett Till and then forwarding Worldstar videos. No allowing folks to say, “Well, you see…”, NONE of that.
    People would need to be publically shamed for listening to things by Wayne.

    There are enough of us. Really, there are. But ENFORCING the rules would have to be done full stop. People would have to be cut out of your life. Let these chicks that defend this nonsense have to stay close to the men who spew it.

    White male consumers are the largest buyers of rap because it allows them to vent about feminism and weak male traits while degrading women WHO ARE NOT IN THEIR COMMUNITY. There’s reasons why Eminem may have had some violent lyrics about his ex-wife or A white woman, but he certainly wasn’t known for sexually explicit lyrics about white women in general. You never saw him leading white women around in leashes and dog collars. Even white rockers always had their women as ones to work to GET and KEEP, not throwaway items. They understood that their daughters would one day be exposed to such things.

    There are reasons why rappers rap about “independent women”, it allows them the luxury to not have to pay for anything themselves.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Took the words right out of my mouth! Honestly, nothing Wayne (not calling a grown a$$ man lil) says or do is surprising to me anymore. The guy is a lost cause and a minion and puppet to the cause. As Ask_me hinted on below there needs to be a big public lashing to push the likes of Wayne and his other commercial brethren rappers and “music” out of the forefront.

  • 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.

  • TajMarie

    @what? My thoughts exactly.

  • http://gravatar.com/trueletterson trueletterson

    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.

  • Rakel

    ITA these rappers don’t surprise me anymore. My friend said the same thing you did about them being puppets. And they honestly think they’re original. They’re all a bunc of sellouts to themselves. Like how low can you go? We really do need more public backlash against this type of “music”.

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