Members of the rap industrial complex know that rappers can say anything about black women and that absolutely nothing will happen. You can call black women every name but ‘a child of God’ and there won’t be anything to worry about–people will still buy your CD’s, even many black women.
But rapper Lil’ Wayne has FINALLY managed to incur the wrath of everyone’s favorite civil rights hero, Jesse Jackson, when rapper/producer Future’s song “Karate Chop” made its way onto the Internet. Lil Wayne guests on “Karate Chop” and slow-drawls the offensive lyric “Beat that p*ssy up like Emmett Till.”
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African American boy who was viciously murdered over 40 years ago in Mississippi. Allegedly, Till had flirted with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant. And for this offense, Till was beaten beyond recognition; Bryant’s husband and another man abducted Till from the home of his great-uncle. The men took Till to barn where they tortured him before gouging out one of his eyes, shooting him through the head, and then disposing of the body by tossing it into a river with a 70-pound cotton gin fan tied around Till’s neck. Till’s mother insisted on her son having an open casket in order to show the world the brutality of her son’s murder.
And Lil’ Wayne wants to beat that p*ssy up like Emmett Till’s face.
Once Jackson heard the lyric he reached out to the boss of Future’s label, L.A. Reid, to ask for the lyric to be removed. Epic, the label which will be releasing Future’s upcoming album, vowed to remove the lyric from the song’s official release.
Airicka Gordon-Taylor, a spokesperson and member of the Till family, had this to say:
“It was a heinous murder,” Gordon-Taylor said in a phone interview Thursday from Chicago. “He was brutally beaten and tortured, and he was shot, wrapped in barbed wire and tossed in the Tallahatchie River. The images that we’re fortunate to have (of his open casket) that ‘Jet’ published, they demonstrate the ugliness of racism. So to compare a woman’s anatomy — the gateway of life — to the ugly face of death, it just destroyed me. And then I had to call the elders in my family and explain to them before they heard it from some another source.”
It’s good that Rev. Jackson felt the need to reach out to those in power to say that this reference to Emmett Till is disrespectful of that 14-year-old boy’s memory.
Now we know that there is a line in the sand that even rappers can’t cross. And that line is where living black women end, and dead black men begin.
Jamila Akil is a Senior Editor at Beyond Black and White. Follow her on Twitter @jamilaakil