PepsiCo and Mountain Dew Drop Lil Wayne

by Britni Danielle

Lil Wayne loses endorsement deal

Who said public pressure, criticism, and petitions don’t matter?

Just days after PepsiCo pulled an offensive ad for its Mountain Dew brand, which featured upstart rapper Tyler, the Creator and his rap crew Odd Future, the soft drink giant also ended a deal with Lil Wayne.

Although Weezy’s publicist cited “creative differences,” many feel this move was due to the uproar caused when Wayne compared a violent sex act to the gruesome murder of Emmett Till in the song “Karate Chop.”

After the song went viral, many, including Till’s family, quickly condemned Wayne for the offensive lyrics, and apparently PepsiCo was listening.

During the firestorm surrounding the lyrics, Wayne sent a letter to the Till family apologizing for the song if they were offended, but the family rejected his note.

 Airickca Gordon-Taylor, a cousin of Till’s, told USA Today, “I was not impressed.”

“I think that he’s kind of been pressured or he’s been admonished to make a statement to the family because of the ongoing negative publicity and attention and the pressure we’ve put onto his endorsement with Mountain Dew. I feel like it was an acknowledgment. He has finally, publicly acknowledged the ongoing outcry. It was not an apology. … However, I think it’s a start. I think the door is now open for us to have a sit-down, to have a dialogue.”

It looks like the family’s efforts paid off. PepsiCo ended its relationship with Lil Wayne, just weeks after Rick Ross lost a lucrative endorsement deal with Reebok over his controversial lyrics which encouraged date rape.

With companies caving to public pressure, will more rappers finally think before they spew violent, misogynistic lyrics? We’ll just have to wait and see.

  • JS

    “With companies caving to public pressure, will more rappers finally think before they spew violent, misogynistic lyrics?”

    Honestly, no. I definitely think companies will think twice before they sign future rap artist endorsement deals but I doubt this will change rap much unfortunately.

    I also don’t know what the Till family was expecting from Wayne. His lyrics are a joke. Instead of looking to have a “sit down or dialogue” with him they should use this as an opportunity to shift the attention to more relevant and important role models for the Black community. Nothing at this point could make me think of Wayne or any other rapper who feeds into main stream rap culture as a positive influence.

  • Evangeline

    Best news ever!!! Like the piece says, maybe other rappers will sees these two as a cautionary tale and think twice before putting out the garbage that is now mainstream hip hop.

  • Thuggish Ruggish Bone

    I guess he won’t be doing the dew anymore.

  • Mademoiselle

    Yes!!! I hope the momentum continues with these calls for corporate conscientiousness. I want companies to stop putting sales in front of communities, and quit rewarding these toxic individuals just because they have wide reach.

  • binks

    womp womp womp!!! But like others mention I don’t think this will make rappers finally think about what they say and spew through their lyrics and stop them. But this like many others example serves as a precedent that we, the customers, have power and can hold companies/brands feet to the fire to let them think long and hard about who they endorse and let represent their brand. Because let’s be honest, Lil Wayne has said countless of filthy and degrading things in his music way before mentioning Emmett Till. Finally, maybe artists who deserve endorsements and press can be in the running.

  • mEE

    I actually yelled, “yes!!” when I saw the headline. I didn’t even know I cared that much.

  • Rakel

    Glad companies are taking offensive lyrics seriously. I hope it does make rappers think twice. We as consumers need to keep the pressure on and hold them accountable for their actions and lyrics.

  • Mademoiselle

    Weezy’s publicist might call it “creative differences,” but PepsiCo says “His offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.” Lil Wayne and his camp can take all that wordplay elsewhere.

    P.S. PepsiCo, his offensive references to women should’ve stopped you from signing him in the first place, but… little victories.

  • Nadell

    Mission accomplished!
    Now the question is: what is the deal with Mountain Dew?!!?! Are sells that bad that they are on this slippery slope of complete foolishness? To even approve that commercial….

  • Ash

    This is a small victory in the battle against ignorance. Between the Rick Ross fiasco and Lil Wayne situations, I see progress. He took forever to apologize. Umm….He anit fooling anyone!

  • Anthony

    We need to remember that endorsements are about selling stuff. Once controversy pops up, it takes energy away from selling stuff and companies bail.

  • dmac

    Thank you. I’m glad they dropped him, but it’s extremely annoying that the Emmett Till reference is considered so much worse than the things he says about women all the time.

  • Deal-n-Truth

    Maybe we could use this same pressure to combat crime in our communities.

  • leelah

    I think signing a petition against lil wayne is a whole lot easier than combatting crime. The two problems aren’t even remotely similar in scale.

  • Nadell


  • JS

    Also just realized something. I don’t know the details of the contract but it is likely PepsiCo still has to pay Lil Wayne for the endorsement deal even if they cut his spokesperson time short. Unless Wayne expressly violated his contract, which it is likely he did not do as it is extremely unlikely they would censor his lyrics, they have to still pay him. Of course PepsiCo can choose not to run the campaign, but they still have to pay him for the work he has done. I work in advertising and I have seen companies pay big bucks for advertisements all the time that never see the light day or get cut short. I think the reason why PepsiCo waited this long is they probably tried to ride the whole situation out because it is likely they paid him millions and didn’t want that money to go to waste.

  • The Moon in the Sky

    But it was only after people complained.

  • Rob

    Wonderful NEWS…. Lil Wayne and Ross are a embarrassment to the human race.

  • Hiccups

    100% agree with dropping wayne, feel the Tyler ad was a little bit of a reach by the people who complained. I mean, he directed it.

  • No_chaser

    Agreed. And, NO it isn’t as difficult as some think.
    How about throwin out the “no snitching” foolishness. Then, lets breed with worthy men and raise children that are not “at-risk”…kids that will value education over street life, given our support.
    Easy enough for starters, no?

  • D

    YES!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!! This accomplishment, which many folks have fought night and day for, which many have marched and died for, has finally come to fruition. A rapper worth probably $100 million has lost a probably $1 million endorsement deal. I hope he learned his lesson. Rappers, unlike every other form of entertainment in existence, will finally learn that sex and violence doesn’t pay…..oh wait….yes it does. Well, misogyny definitely doesn’t…..oh, yeah, that pays, too. Well, making a two-second metaphorical reference to a civil rights icon, while wrong but not intentionally being disrespectful, that definitely doesn’t pay. Yeah. Stop doing that.

    Let me tell y’all dingbats who are happy about this what’s actually happening. Nothing. Reebok will team back up with Rick Ross. Lil’ Wayne will continue to work with Mountain Dew, or another Pepsi brand, at some point in the future. What these companies and rappers are learning is that the FAKE OUTRAGE that comes from this playing the victim nonsense only lasts a millisecond before people move on to the next thing they’re offended about. Why? Because it’s based on ether. It’s like seeing gay marriage as a big threat to stable families while not protesting decades of no-fault divorce….LOL. Short-sighted mofos.

  • Pat

    I am more excited about the power of protest and solidarity to demonstrate people are not going to continue to stand for disrespect and dehumanizing our daughters. The power of protesting is doing its job. We know protesting hasn’t ever changed a person’s mentality, however, it changes how people treat other people. By not allowing Lil Wayne and R. Ross to continue down this path, the next rappers or producers will not only think about money. They’ll think about what is being said and its impact on others. Because we know Lil Wayne doesn’t care especially if his money is still flowing. If he becomes penniless – I think he will still have the same sentiments. To me, the first VICTORY is the fire of protest and solidarity is BEING re-ignited. YES and Amen to this because we are the generation who is in dire need of it. This is a start to exemplify that we’re equipped to stop the next one and the next one. As each rapper is produced, we have the power to stop it. I’m not saying to stop a genre of music – but they have to become aware of their lyrics. Lil Wayne never has been imo. So, a thousand YESES to placing a yield sign in his path, Rick Ross, and to any other rapper attempting nonsense. At least they are aware they cannot continue to spread nonsense so acceptably and women can’t be treated so carelessly. This is truly a good start. I think with these two, other rappers will take a cue. Many buy their records, now these consumers know what was said and now they know what shouldn’t be said or what isn’t accepted. It works both ways. And for the second time, it was a win-win for the consumers (parents/family members) who became sick and tired. Nothing but victory here… it hasn’t stopped completely, but if we keep going, I sincerely believe it will.

    As far as PepsiCo, yes they are smart. They are aware that more of their products are consumed in compared to the purchases of Lil Wayne’s music. This is what these artists/ rappers/athletes need to realize. They don’t owned their endorsements (the company) or larger than – so THEY will lose out every time. It is so crazy to me. They’ll do almost anything for money then don’t think twice about sealing greater business endeavors. It is possible to earn more from endorsements than it is from your salary. This is just added confirmation of having a messed up mentality while lacking a business mind. They are truly cutting off their own legs and expecting to keep up with the race. Is this what rapper refer to as, “ballin’?”…. lol! If so, they can have thatt. Darn, think long-term, Be like Mike – do something. You’re disgracing your people and yourself.

  • Pingback: The “Boss” is Fired for Rape: Rick Ross vs Reebok | Throwback Thursday | Eazee Street

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