Stevie Wonder has blasted Lil Wayne over lyrics in a song that refer to a murdered teenager.
Lil Wayne’s lyrics referred to Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black teen who was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
Despite confessions by the killers in a magazine interview after the initial trial in which they were acquitted, Till’s killers were not brought to justice due to the Double Jeopardy rule, which prevents defendants from being tried for the same crime twice.
Latterly, the Till case is considered as a catalyst in the civil rights movement and one that helped change the national conversation on race, The Associated Press notes.
Wonder, who says he is a fan and friend of Lil Wayne, says the rapper’s verse in the remix of Future’s song “Karate Chop” which compares a rough sex act to the torturous death of Till — who was beaten, had one eye was gouged out before being shot in the head — should not have made it beyond the recording studio into the public domain.
Asked in an interview on Thursday about Wayne’s’ controversial rap, Wonder said:
“You can’t equate that [a sex act] to Emmett Till. You just cannot do that… I think you got to have someone around you that — even if they are the same age or older — is wiser to say, ‘Yo, that’s not happening. Don’t do that’.”
Till’s family have now asked the rapper for an apology, and Epic Records, who are Future’s label, said the official song will not feature Wayne’s rap. The label also says it is employing “great efforts” to pull the remix down, Huffington Post reports.
Wonder, 62, says he hopes the 30-year-old Grammy winner can honor the perspective of the Till family and choose his words wisely in future works.
“Sometimes people have to put themselves in the place of people who they are talking about,” said the Innervisions singer. “Imagine if that happened to your mother, brother, daughter or your son. How would you feel? Have some discernment before we say certain things. That goes for me or any other [song] writer.”
As yet, Lil Wayne has not publicly responded to Wonder’s comments.
Considering the brutality and context of Till’s murder, do you think the rapper was insensitive to have referenced the case in the way that he did?