Epic Records says it is taking “great efforts” to pull a remix of a song by singer Future that was leaked over the weekend and includes vulgar lyrics by rapper Lil Wayne about black martyr Emmett Till.
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy from Chicago who was tortured and shot in Mississippi in 1955 for whistling at a white woman.
Till was beaten, had his eyes gouged out and was shot in the head, according to an Associated Press account. His body was then tied to a cotton gin fan with barbed wire and thrown into the Tallahatchie River by two white men, who were ultimately acquitted of the killing by an all-white jury.
Till’s mother insisted on an open casket for his funeral so the world would see what had been done to him, making his death a catalyst for the civil rights movement.
In the remix of the song “Karate Chop” by Future, Lil Wayne compares what was done to Till to a sexual act.
The Till family has expressed their offense over the song, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson contacted Lil Wayne’s management, The Blueprint Group, on the family's behalf.
“It was a heinous murder,” Airickca Gordon-Taylor, Till's cousin, told the AP Thursday.
“The images that we're fortunate to have [of his open casket] that Jet [magazine] published, they demonstrate the ugliness of racism. 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 another source.”
Epic Records released a statement Wednesday night apologizing for the release of the song, which they say was unintentional.
"We regret the unauthorized remix version of Future's 'Karate Chop,' which was leaked online and contained hurtful lyrics," the statement 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 Records Chairman and CEO, L.A. Reid, has reportedly also contacted the family to personally apologize.
The label says an official release of the song will not include the offending lyrics.
Fionna Agomuoh is a Technology Reporter for the International Business Times, a vegan foodie, and a lover of Electric Dance Music.