J. Cole has apologized for an insensitive lyric about autism on Drake’s “Jodeci Freestyle” after public backlash.
The line said, “Go check the numbers dummy, that’s just me getting started/I’m artistic, you n****s is autistic, retarded.”
Actress Holly Robinson Peete took offense to the lyric, and called out the 28-year-old for the disrespectful line.
“This was first brought to my attention by my son, who is 15, with autism, loves J.Cole, loves Drake. He brought it (up) to me, because he looks at all the lyrics. He said, ‘Mum what does this mean,'” she said.
And I was so devastated when I read it, I had to read it like five times and try to find some other context where this could make sense, ’cause everything I know about J. Cole is that he’s a very intelligent man, he went to college, he graduated top of his class. He’s a very smart rapper and I understand the artistic expression and everything, but this right here is so irresponsible. It hurt my feelings so much.
After a petition from the Anti-Bullying League raised 4,500 signatures, the “Born Sinner” rapper issued an apology on his website, and even referenced the fact that other rappers — such as Rick Ross and Lil Wayne — have had to make public apologies for disrespectful lyrics.
The apology reads in part:
Recently there’s been a trend that includes rappers saying something offensive, only to be attacked for it in the media and pressured to apologize… With that said, this is not the case today. This letter is sincere. This apology IS necessary. In a recent verse on the song “Jodeci Freestyle”, I said something highly offensive to people with Autism. Last week, when I first saw a comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realized right away that what I said was wrong. I was instantly embarrassed that I would be ignorant enough say something so hurtful. What makes the crime worse is that I should have known better. To the entire Autism community who expressed outrage, I’m moved and inspired by your passion, and I’m amazed at how strong you are as a unit… I feel real shame. You have every right to be angry. To anyone suffering from Autism, either mildly or severely, I am sorry.
You can read the full apology on J. Cole’s “DreamVillain” blog.
Drake has also responded to the outcry, and has said he will remove the lyric from the song.
“Individuals with autism have brilliant and creative minds, and their gifts should not be disparaged or discounted,” the 26-year-old “Started From the Bottom” rapper said. “This was a learning lesson for both of us, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to try to right this wrong. J. Cole and I believe that it is the right, responsible, and respectful decision to remove the lyric from the song.”
What do you think of J. Cole and Drake’s responses?