NATIONAL NEWS (FOX44) — Hearing explicit lyrics is nothing new to fans of New Orleans rapper Lil’ Wayne. However, Pepsi decided he went too far with a recent reference to a civil rights martyr, so they dropped his endorsement deal.
PepsiCo announced Friday, May 3 that it has canceled its deal with Wayne for the promotion of Mountain Dew soda. They say his reference to Emmett Till on Future’s song “Karate Chop” was too offensive and did “not reflect the values” of its brand.
Wayne’s lyric “beat that **** up like Emmett Till” is what Pepsi referenced in their statement. It was brought to their attention by the Till family after they petitioned the company to drop the artist’s deal.
Till, 14, was a black teen from Chicago who visited Mississippi in 1955. He was beaten to death after he whistled at a white woman. His gruesome death was made more horrific when the two white men accused of killing him were acquitted of all charges.
Reports indicate that Wayne has since sent the Till family a letter, in which he offers empathy and notes that he will not reference him again in his music.
“Moving forward, I will not use or reference Emmett Till or the Till family in my music, especially in an inappropriate manner. I fully support Epic Record’s decision to take down the unauthorized version of the song and to not include the reference in the version that went to retail. I will not be performing the lyrics that contain that reference live and have removed them from my catalogue,” the letter reads.