May 2nd, 2013
05:04 PM ET
Lil Wayne, in a letter to the family of Emmett Till, has acknowledged the hurt he caused in a song lyric that compared his sexual prowess to the decimated body of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old whose brutal 1955 murder helped spark the U.S. civil rights movement.
The controversy he's responding to stems all the way back to February, when a remix of a song called "Karate Chop" by the rapper Future leaked. In his contribution to "Karate Chop," Wayne said he'd "beat that p***y like Emmett Till."
In 1955, Till was visiting relatives in Mississippi when he allegedly whistled at a white woman. He was later abducted, tortured and killed.
Till's family has been outspoken with their disapproval, which at the time prompted Epic Records to apologize and pull the lyric from the authorized version of the track.
According to Rolling Stone, the record label said in a statement that it regrets the "unauthorized remix version of Future's 'Karate Chop,' which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics. Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family ... we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version."
Wayne remained quiet, even as the Till family said they'd start approaching corporate sponsors - like Mountain Dew, which is presently in hot water over a collaboration with a different rapper - to drop the artist.
On Wednesday, Wayne shared an open letter, posted on MissInfo.tv, saying that he "cannot imagine the pain that your family has had to endure," and that "Moving forward, I will not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in my music, especially in an inappropriate manner."
But the Till family said in a statement on the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation's Facebook page that they don't see what Wayne said as an apology.
“We are aware of Lil Wayne's statement of acknowledgement of our family's pain and our disapproval of referencing Emmett Till in his lyrical content," the statement says. "While it's commendable that he has vowed to respect the legacy of Emmett Till and his memory to 'not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in his music,' this statement falls short of an apology, as none is mentioned.”
Wayne's full letter is below:
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