Reporting Scott T. Sterling
Update (7/23, 2:10 p.m. EST) Yesterday, J. Cole apologized to people with autism and their families over a lyric in Drake’s song “Jodeci Freestyle.” Now Drake is also sharing his remorse over the offensive line.
The rapper took to his blog, October’s Very Own, on Monday (July 22) to “share responsibility and my my sincerest apologies for the pain this has caused.”
“Individuals with autism have brilliant and creative minds, and their gifts should not be disparaged or discounted,” he wrote, letting fans know he wanted to “right this wrong.”
Drake ended his note by writing, “J. Cole and I believe that it is the right, responsible, and respectful decision to remove the lyric from the song.”
A petition from the Anti-Bullying League had previously asked not only for an apology from the two young rappers, but for them to remove the offensive lyric.
In a thoughtful blog post, rapper J. Cole apologized to people with autism and their families for a lyric found in “Jodeci Freestyle,” a collaboration with Drake, who released the track late last month while announcing the September 17 release date of his upcoming third album, Nothing Was the Same.
“Last week, when I first saw a comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realized right away that what I said was wrong,” Cole wrote. “I was instantly embarrassed that I would be ignorant enough to say something so hurtful. What makes the crime worse is that I should have known better.”
The offending lyric (“I’m artistic, you n—-s is autistic, retarded”) generated a petition from the Anti-Bullying League asking for an apology and for the line to be removed from the song.
“It’s time we recognised (sic) people with autism for the exceptional human beings that they are and make a stand,” wrote Anna Kennedy, the petition’s author.
The petition had reached over 4,100 signatures by the time J. Cole wrote his apology, which was acknowledged by Kennedy after closing the appeal for signatures, adding, “now to remove or dub lyrics please.” No word yet if J. Cole will do either of those things.
‘To the entire Autism community who expressed outrage, I’m moved and inspired by your passion, and I’m amazed at how strong you are as a unit,” Cole said in his apology. “To anyone suffering from Autism, either mildly or severely, I am sorry. I’m bound to make mistakes in my life, but in my heart I just want to spread Love.”
Cole’s apology comes on the hills of fellow rapper Rick Ross, who issued his own apology for lyrics some found to glorify rape. Lil Wayne was similarly taken to task for a reference to Emmett Till, although his response fell short of an official apology.
J. Cole’s most recent album, Born Sinner, was released on the same day as the current Kanye West album, Yeezus. While Yeezus sold more copies in its first week of release, Born Sinner has gone on to outdo West’s latest in overall sales.