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5 Black Celebrities Who Disrespected Black Leaders and Cultural Icons

Hip-hop began in the 1970s as a cultural force that showcased the political, revolutionary and militant voice of Black America. Initially, it was created by Black people for Black people as a way of expressing the plight and promises within our community.

But to make hip-hop popular among wider audiences, the modus operandi shifted, creating a chasm between artists and the cultural implications that once informed rap. Over time, it appears some artists have progressively moved their fingers off the pulse of our history, and in the process disrespected the men and women who paved the way for their success.

Here are five examples of celebrities who lost touch.



Lil Wayne

Rap star Lil Wayne set a firestorm of controversy in 2013 when he collaborated on a remix of rapper Future’s “Karate Chop.”  In his verse, Wayne spewed a lyric that referenced the brutal 1955 murder of civil rights martyr Emmett Till.  The Till family members responded by releasing an open letter to Wayne in which they voiced their disappointment and concern for the irresponsible use of his public platform.

The beginning of the letter read:

“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**** 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.”

Wayne responded with an open letter “acknowledging” the family’s hurt and supporting Epic Records’ decision to pull the song from the airwaves. He wrote:

“It has come to my attention that lyrics from my contribution to a fellow artist’s song has deeply offended your family. As a father myself, I cannot imagine the pain that your family has had to endure. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge your hurt, as well as the letter you sent to me via your attorneys.”

What people are saying

12 thoughts on “5 Black Celebrities Who Disrespected Black Leaders and Cultural Icons

  1. Sundiata Keita says:

    in all seriousness, 123 and 5 should be lynched in time. and Nicki came out with another song talking about Malcolm's daughter, so she needs to be lynched twice. when they start enslaving black folks these are gone be the niggas telling you which plantation to go to.

  2. Thomas L DeGroat says:

    Wayne manned up and acknowledged his error. Good for him.

  3. Junbug Hernandez says:

    It started as a revolution, now it's about personal enrichment. I wont spend a dime on any rap artist,none. It's a joke. Jayzee os a sellout.

  4. Rodney Sturgeon says:

    JayZ is too ignorant to realize that if there hadn't been a Harry Belafonte there would be no JayZ today…such disrespect for people who helped pave the road before you…this generation seems to have forgotten where we have come from…or is it the Illumati in full effect?

  5. They are mentally dead to the knowledge of themselves, these celebrities who are the focus of this story. Heaven help their fans. What would the ancestors think of this? They probably would shake their heads and wonder what became of our people?

  6. When you don't stand for anything, it's easy to disrespect those who do.

  7. Manned up?LOL Imho "acknowledgement" is not enough. An apology would've been more appropriate, and it still wouldn't have been enough. The media in this country have done a wonderfully sinister job at downplaying the atrocities of it's past and when people condone these soulless clowns like wayne they are, themselves, perpetuating it as well, intentionally or not…

  8. Smoothies Or Milkshakes ?

  9. Mohammed Shakur says:

    How did Mr. Carter man up? He didnt even apologized. He merely "acknowledged" their pain.

  10. Lyn Johnson says:

    Jay-z is uninformed

  11. Abbas Ali says:

    And they still selling Records…..

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