NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) — Epic Records says it is making “great efforts” to take down a new Future remix with a vulgar Lil Wayne lyric that has offended the family of a black U.S. teenager whose murder in the 1950s for whistling at a white woman helped to change the national conversation on race.
In a version of the song leaked over the weekend, the rapper makes a sexual reference to the beating death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old Chicago boy tortured and shot in Mississippi in 1955. Till’s family objected, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson contacted Lil Wayne’s management, The Blueprint Group, on the family’s behalf.
The label issued a statement Wednesday night apologizing for the release of the song.
“We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future’s ‘Karate Chop,’ which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics,” the statement said. “Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family and the support of the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. … we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version.”
Epic will release an official version of the song that “will not include such references.”
Neither Jackson nor members of Till’s family could be reached late Wednesday. A publicist said Lil Wayne had no comment.
He appears briefly on the song, alluding to the black teenager’s beating in a way too vulgar to print.
Till was in Mississippi visiting family when he was killed. He was beaten, his eyes were gouged out and he was shot in the head before his body was tossed into a river. Two white men, including the woman’s husband, were acquitted of the killing by an all-white jury.
Till’s body was recovered and returned to Chicago, where his mother, Mamie Till, insisted on having an open casket at his funeral. Pictures of his battered body helped push civil rights into the cultural conversation in the U.S.
Bob Dylan wrote a song about it: “The Death of Emmett Till.”
A Facebook posting on the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation page Wednesday night said Epic Records Chairman and CEO LA Reid had contacted the family to personally apologize.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.