Wayne contributed to a remix of Future's "Karate Chop" that leaked last weekend and included the lyric, "Beat that pussy up like Emmett Till" – referencing the Chicago teen who was infamously tortured and lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman while visiting Mississippi in 1955. After Till's family objected to the line, the Rev. Jesse Jackson contacted Weezy's management company, the Blueprint Group, on their behalf.
Epic issued a statement yesterday night apologizing for the song: "We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future's 'Karate Chop,' which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics. Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family . . . we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version." The label eventually plans to release a version of the song that "will not include such references."
According to the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation's Facebook page, Epic chief L.A. Reid reached out and apologized to the family personally.
A publicist for Lil Wayne says the New Orleans rapper has no comment right now, while neither Jackson nor Till's family could be reached.
Till's murder marked a turning point in the civil rights movement. He was beaten, had an eye gouged out and was shot in the head before his body was thrown into the Tallahatchie River, weighted down with a cotton-gin fan tied to him with barbed wire. The two men put on trial, including the husband of the woman Till allegedly whistled at, were acquitted by an all-white jury. When Till's body was recovered and returned to Chicago, his mother Mamie insisted on having an open casket funeral; pictures of his mutilated body were published across the country, helping to push Southern racism and the civil rights struggle into the public discourse.
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This article originally appeared on Rolling Stone: 'Hurtful' Lil Wayne Lyric Prompts Apology From Epic Records