The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

PepsiCo cuts ties with Lil Wayne after crude Emmett Till lyrics

  • Print
FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2013 file photo, recording artist Lil Wayne meets fans and celebrates his contemporary street wear apparel brand TRUKFIT at his hometown Macy's, in New Orleans. A letter from Lil Wayne to the offended family of Emmett Till did not go far enough and relatives of the late civil rights icon are seeking a meeting with the rapper and representatives from PepsiCo to discuss their commercial partnership. The New Orleans rapper made the brief offensive reference to Till on Future's song

Enlarge Image

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2013 file photo, recording artist Lil Wayne meets fans and celebrates his contemporary street wear apparel brand TRUKFIT at his hometown Macy's, in New Orleans. A letter from Lil Wayne to the offended family of Emmett Till did not go far enough and relatives of the late civil rights icon are seeking a meeting with the rapper and representatives from PepsiCo to discuss their commercial partnership. The New Orleans rapper made the brief offensive reference to Till on Future's song "Karate Chop" earlier this year. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - PepsiCo is bowing to public pressure for the second time in a week and cutting ties with Lil Wayne over the rapper's crude lyrical reference to civil rights martyr Emmett Till.

Lil Wayne, one of the biggest stars in pop music, had a deal to promote the company's Mountain Dew soda.

Earlier this week, PepsiCo also pulled an online ad for the neon-colored soda that was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence toward women. That ad was developed by rapper Tyler, the Creator.

On Friday, PepsiCo said in a statement that Wayne's "offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand." It declined to provide any further comment.

A publicist for Lil Wayne, Sarah Cunningham, said that the split was due to "creative differences" and that it was an amicable parting.

"That's about all I can tell you at this time," she said.

Wayne had sent the Till family a letter offering empathy and saying that he would not reference Till or the family in his music, particularly in an inappropriate manner.

But the Till family said the letter fell short of an apology.

"It's mindboggling to me that they partnered with him in the first place," said the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., a Till cousin and witness to his abduction. "Major corporations should scrutinize who they endorse, don't let greed or money determine who you sponsor."

Parker's written statement said Wayne's lyrics not only insulted Till's memory but degraded women as well.

Rev. Al Sharpton, who had been working with the Till family to arrange a meeting with Lil Wayne and PepsiCo officials, said in a telephone interview that he hopes the decision ultimately is less about punishing individual rappers and more a cultural "teaching moment."

"Otherwise we're just waiting on the next train crash instead of trying to really resolve our problem and learn from these experiences and set a tone in the country that's healthy for everybody," he said.

Sharpton said that he and the Till family still plan to meet with PepsiCo officials next week.

The controversy erupted after Wayne made the reference to Till on Future's song "Karate Chop" earlier this year. He refers to a violent sexual act on a woman and says he wants to do as much damage as was done to Till.

The black teen from Chicago was in Mississippi visiting family in 1955 when he was killed, allegedly for whistling at a white woman. He was beaten, had his eyes gouged out and was shot in the head before his assailants tied a cotton gin fan to his body with barbed wire and tossed it into a river.

Two white men, including the woman's husband, were acquitted 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. The pictures of his battered body helped push civil rights into the cultural conversation.

Music and media industry executive Paul Porter, who comments on music issues on his website RapRehab.com, said he thought PepsiCo's decision was an effort by the company "to do the right thing now."

Porter, who had complained publicly and to PepsiCo about Lil Wayne and the Mountain Dew video by Tyler, the Creator, said the company is "doing a whole evaluation of the process" involving its commercials and musicians. His comments were based on his conversations with the company.

"I commend them for making this strong judgment," he said. "Lil Wayne's apology was not an apology."

Earlier this month, Rick Ross also lost his deal with Reebok after he rapped about raping a woman who had been drugged. As for the Mountain Dew ad by Tyler, the Creator, PepsiCo said it pulled the spot immediately after learning people found it offensive.

The ad portrayed a battered white woman being urged to identify her attacker from a lineup of black men and a talking goat that has appeared in other Mountain Dew ads. Tyler, the Creator has noted that the men in the lineup were played by his friends and members of Odd Future, a Los Angeles-based rap collective.

__

Talbott reported from Nashville, Tenn. AP Television Writer Lynn Elber contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

__

Follow Candice Choi at —www.twitter.com/candicechoi

Follow Chris Talbott at —www.twitter.com/Chris_Talbott

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Key of Bart: Choose Yourself

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A  young goose stuffed with bread from  St Vital park passers-by takes a nap in the shade Thursday near lunch  –see Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge Day 29-June 28, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support Pimicikamak First Nation's protest against Manitoba Hydro?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google