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Epic Records Apologizes For Lil Wayne’s Vulgar Emmett Till Reference

Emmett_TillMusic executives are scrambling to remove from the Internet a leaked song in which rapper Lil Wayne compares a sexual act to the death of civil rights martyr Emmett Till. The track, a remix of Atlanta artist Future’s “Karate Chop,” was reportedly leaked on to the Internet without the permission of Future’s record label, Epic.

Till was 14 years old when he was kidnapped from his home, beaten, tortured and killed by a group of white men in Mississippi after allegedly flirting with a white woman in 1955. His killers were acquitted of the crime.

“We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future’s ‘Karate Chop,’ which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics,” a statement issued Thursday 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.”

Epic CEO Antonio “LA” Reid reached out to the Till family to apologize directly and explain his efforts to have the song pulled. Because the original song belongs to Future, Epic is able to enforce its ownership rights over Lil Wayne’s track. Wayne’s Young Money Cash Money label, an offshoot of the Universal Music Group, has yet to comment on the controversy surrounding the leaked song.

Till’s death sparked an outcry that brought international attention to the horrors of American racism. Till’s mother, Mamie Till Mobley insisted that the casket lie open during Emmett’s funeral, though the attack had left him largely unrecognizable.  Images of Till’s disfigured body were featured in Jet magazine and The Chicago Defender, after Mobley famously told the press “I wanted the world to see what they did to my baby.”

“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 [magazine] published, they demonstrate the ugliness of racism.” Till’s cousin, Airickca Gordon-Taylor, told The Associated Press Thursday when asked about Lil Wayne’s song.

“ 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 other source.”

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