‘Your Lyrics Reopened Emmett Till’s Casket:’ Till Family Pens Powerful Open Letter To Lil Wayne

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February 21, 2013 ‐ By Jazmine Denise Rogers
Source: Biography.com

Source: Biography.com

Last week we reported on how outraged the family of Emmett Till was over Lil Wayne’s offensive rap lyrics that compared Till’s brutal killing to sexual acts to be performed on a woman. Now, family members of the gruesomely murdered teen are doing some writing of their own. In a two-page open letter to Lil Wayne, which was published by Vibe, the Till family addresses the power of words and how the rapper’s lyrics were destructive to their relative’s legacy. Check out an excerpt of the letter below.

“Yesterday marked a week since the “unofficial” release of “Karate Chop~remix” inclusive of your lyrics. The words we speak are powerful enough for preservation of life but also have the capacity to destroy it. When you spit 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.

“The tongue possesses power! I could offer you a history lesson and talk about the trailblazers that paved the way for our people and lyricists to engage in freedom of speech such as Marcus Garvey, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Mamie Till Mobley; but this isn’t an argument about freedom of speech. It is critical that we stay true to urgency of the hour… our youth! Your “celebrity” thrusts you into the spotlight affording you the opportunity to embrace your role as a black man, father, friend, and artist that has the ability to reach international audiences. Are you bothered in the least by the staggering statistics of the extinction of our children?”

You can read the letter in its entirety here. What do you think of the family’s decision to write a letter to Wayne? 

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  • SMHgurl24

    Smh what is happening in Hollywood these days?! You take talented, beautiful people and turn them into monsters! It wouldn’t mean much if it were 1 or 2 but nowadays every single person who goes into our entertainment industry ends up like this. Wayne really has serious issues as do all of them.. Hopefully they can realize that the paycheck isn’t worth it and get out as soon as they can.

  • Melissa

    I know I will get a lot of flack for saying this but although I did disagree with the lyric and I do feel he should apologize. I also think that this controversy helped people who didn’t know the story of Emmett Till find out about him and what he had to go through.

    So in a way all is not lost. Wayne’s lyric although disgusting did open his casket but I think it could be in a good way. Instead of using it to lash out at anyone, call people names or wish the same gruesome death on Lil Wayne we should use this opportunity to educate the people around us about his story. Talk to our children, nephews etc. and let them know the reality of what is going on in the world instead of sugar coating it.

    Because whether we like it or not our children are listening to Lil Wayne’s music. Use it as a learning tool and let them know what happened, show them the gruesome pic of his body in the casket, and let them know that it’s not okay. We have a black president now but this is what we had to endure to get here.

  • TraceyA

    I agree with Amani! I don’t have any respect for Lil Wayne, it is great that he went from rags to riches, but he has chose to glorify the thug life instead of trying to make his fans feel powerful in a positive way! To think he makes millions of dollars and is in and out of prison is just wasting the gift that GOD gave him! My prayers are with Emmett Tills family. Sorry I had to say both their names together in one sentence! It seems so unfair when someone is given so much, but does so little positive with it!

  • scandalous7

    i didnt think he would go this far. He is never sober to regret anything. Phucking man child

    • Ajavee

      You are right Scandalous Lil Wayne is too high off whatever he is drinking,smoking or injecting to care the disrespect he has to the Till family. As the first poster mentioned when it is all said and done Lil Wayne will not have a soul in his corner…he’s is a troubled soul.

  • Clara

    I agree with the Till family. I am completely disgusted by lil Wayne’s lyrics (have been for a while) and his refusal to apologize. As a 22 year old, I am deeply saddened and disturbed by this generation of so called artists. Seems to me that they have no respect for individuals past or present.

  • Amani

    How did we, as a society, go from men of Frederick Douglass’ caliber to the likes of lil wayne and his ilk? We have definitely regressed and something needs to change! It is quite disconcerting that highly enlightened black men are living their respective lives in obscurity; while wayne and his ignorant cabal are influencing the youth with their coonery, poorly disguised as music. SMH.

    • Taj

      “while wayne and his ignorant cabal are influencing the youth with their coonery, poorly disguised as music.”

      He influences the “Black” youth because his music is being subsidized by young “White” men who could care less about our history, while trifling “Black” parents (with some also listening) allow their children to listen to his coonery. In some ways, I have thrown up my hands on this issue. Only someone who is this vile towards Black Women with disregard for their history can only be filled with this much self hate. I’m quite sure with all of the bravado that he tries to display towards the public, he is probably suffering from his private h*ll behind close doors. Sooner or later, his proverbial bending over for white executives will no longer suffice and his shameless coonery will grow old. . . and when he eventually falls from glory, not even his babies “mamas” will have his back. It is only a matter of time. If it happen to Chad “Ochocinco”, it can certainly happen to him.

      • TraceyA

        I agree, except for the “white executives” part! Black executives hanging on like leeches, name a white executive supporting him!

      • Amani

        Well put, Taj! I, too, look forward to the day when wayne and all those who are like him are relegated into oblivion. As far as those “parents” that let their children listen to that garbage, the least said about them the better. I have to agree with you that behind closed doors, lil wayne is seriously battling some internal demons/a private hell of his own making.

  • Sagittarius81

    I don’t blame Emmett Till’s family for being mad, I totally will support them. Even though it hurts my stomach to see that pic of Till in his casket and Weezy has yet to apologized to his family. I can hear Emmett and his mom rolling in their graves.