Mountain Dew dropped Lil Wayne as a spokesperson but the controversy surrounding his lewd lyrical reference to Emmett Till has yet to die down. Rev. Al Sharpton organized a meeting between Emmett Till’s family and officials from Mountain Dew’s parent company PepsiCo, on Wednesday (May 8).
Following the meeting, Rev. Sharpton released a statement with an upbeat tone:
“PepsiCo apologized to the family again and they accepted while agreeing with me that this is a “teachable moment” and we must work with younger hip-hop artists so they know their civil rights history and become more engaged in the community.”
The offending lyrics (I’ll beat the p**** up like Emmett Till”) struck a chord with the Till family. Till was a black boy beaten to death in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
“When you speak 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,” wrote Airickca Gordon-Taylor, Executive Director of the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Fund.
Last week, after a period of silence on the matter, Wayne reached out to the family with a statement in which he expressed empathy for the lyrics featured on Future’s “Karate Chop,” but skirted any direct mention of the words “apology” or “sorry.”
“I fully support Epic Record’s decision to take down the unauthorized version of the song and to not include the reference in the version that went to retail,” wrote Wayne in his statement. “I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue.”
The “non-apology” did not satisfy the Till family, and Wayne was dropped by the soft drink brand. Mountain Dew also pulled a series of television ads directed by Tyler, The Creator, after critics deemed them racist and insensitive to battered women.
- Nee-Sa Lossing, Radio.com