By Laura Ferreiro
It looks like DEWeezy has gone the way of the dodo bird. The high-profile, multimillion-dollar partnership between PepsiCo and Lil Wayne ended Friday, with an announcement issued by the makers of the popular Mountain Dew soft drink.
The rap star, also known as Weezy, recently made a crude reference to civil rights hero Emmett Till in the song "Karate Chop." As a result, PepsiCo pulled the plug on the Mountain Dew promotional campaign known as "DEWeezy," which launched in March 2012 with a highly publicized Lil Wayne performance at South by Southwest.
The statement issued by PepsiCo said that Wayne's "offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand," reported the Associated Press. Meanwhile, a rep from the rapper's camp said the split was due to "creative differences" and they parted on amicable terms.
In the song, Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr., says he wants to beat up a woman's sexual organ "like Emmett Till."
Till was an African-American boy who was murdered in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14, after he allegedly whistled at a white woman. He was severely beaten and had his eyes gouged out before being shot in the head. His body was disposed of in a river, where he was weighted down with a cotton gin fan tied to his neck with barbed wire. The two white men accused of committing the crime were the woman's husband and his brother, but they were acquitted by an all-white jury. The trial and Till's open-casket funeral became a flashpoint in the civil rights movement.
The Till family reportedly called for a meeting with PepsiCo and Wayne this week. The rap star sent the Till family a letter saying he would not refer to Emmett Till in an offensive manner, but the family allegedly rejected the letter, saying it fell short of an apology.
Ironically, a representative for Mountain Dew told Forbes at the campaign launch that the reason they wanted to work with Lil Wayne is because he makes no apologies. "We are celebrating Wayne through this campaign as an artist who found his personal success by following his own path," said brand manager Jamal Henderson. “There is no other artist who embodies that ethos more than Lil Wayne, who is not only always dancing outside of the box but makes no apologies for who he is."
It's unclear whether Pepsi will pull the plug on current Lil Wayne ads and promotions.