News Column

Lil Wayne Blasted for Crude Rap Naming Civil Rights Icon

Feb. 19, 2013

Randy McMullen, Contra Costa Times

Hip-hop star Lil Wayne is under fire for rapping a vulgar reference to Emmett Till, the black U.S. teen whose death in 1955 became a significant moment in the civil rights movement.

The Los Angeles Times said Epic Records Chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid has apologized to Till's family and says his label is working to remove from circulation a remix of the track "Karate Chop" by Atlanta rapper Future, which includes a guest vocal by Wayne that makes a vulgar sexual reference invoking Till's name.

"Just ended a conversation with L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic," reads a recent post on the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation Facebook page. Mobley was Till's mother. "He apologized to me and our family and stated the song is being pulled. Future owns the rights to the song so they have the power to pull it.

Epic representatives told the Los Angeles Times they would make efforts to remove the remix from the Internet and replace it with a version without Lil Wayne's reference to Till.

"We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future's 'Karate Chop,' which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics," a statement issued by Epic said. "Out of respect for the legacy of Emmett Till and his family and the support of the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson Sr. ... we are going through great efforts to take down the unauthorized version."

Till was the 14-year-old African American from Chicago who was tortured and then killed in 1955 after reportedly whistling at a white woman during a visit to family members in Mississippi. An all-white jury acquitted two white men, including the woman's husband, of Till's killing.

The case thrust civil rights issues to the forefront of the national spotlight when Till's mother insisted on an open-casket funeral service that allowed mourners, and the media, to see the condition of his body.

Lil Wayne's vocal on "Karate Chop" references Tillman to describe a rough sexual encounter. He has not commented publicly on the matter.

ALEC BALDWIN IN ANOTHER FLAP: Stop us if you've heard this one, but Alec Baldwin's notorious temper has reportedly gotten him into trouble again. The "30 Rock" star is accused of threatening to choke a New York Post reporter and hurling racial slurs at the newspaper's photographer on Sunday.

Reporter Tara Palmeri claims she approached the 54-year-old actor while he was walking his dogs in Manhattan. When she asked Baldwin about a recent lawsuit involving his pregnant wife Hilaria, Palmeri said Baldwin responded by grabbing her arm and saying, "I want to choke you to death." The New York Post said Palmeri played an audio recording of the actor's threat to police.

Baldwin then turned to the African-American photographer G.N. Miller and allegedly called him several racial slurs as well as a "drug dealer." Baldwin tweeted several times about the incident but later deleted them from his account.

Both Baldwin and Miller filed harassment claims against each another after the tense run-in. The actor denied using racial slurs, telling TMZ the allegation "is one of the most outrageous things I've heard in my life."

Baldwin told Gothamist on Monday, "This guy was right up in my face as I crossed University Place. I get to the other side of the street, and he bumped into me."

KHLOE KARDASHIAN OUT AT 'X FACTOR': "The X Factor" has fired co-host Khloe Kardashian, reports the New York Post.

"They are asking Mario (Lopez) to come back, but not Khloe," a source told the New York City newspaper.

Kardashian, 28, came to the show with no television hosting experience and many viewers felt she often appeared nervous and unprepared on camera.

MAYA RUDOLPH, FERGIE ARE PREGGERS: According to The Hollywood Reporter, "Up All Night" star Maya Rudolph, 40, has informed NBC that she is expecting her fourth child with husband Paul Thomas Anderson. The couple already has three young kids Pearl, 7, Lucille, 3, and Jack, only 19 months.

Meanwhile, Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie, 37, and her husband Josh Duhamel, 40, are expecting a baby. Fergie announced the news on Twitter Monday.

"Josh & Me & BABY makes three!!!" she Tweeted.

This will be the first child for the couple, who wed in January 2009 in Malibu.

Source: (c)2013 Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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