A week after Lil’ Wayne released his verse in the remix of “Karate Chop,” which included a controversial reference to Emmitt Till, Till’s family penned an open letter to the Grammy award-winning artist that was received exclusively by Vibe magazine.
Till’s family accused Wayne of degrading Till’s memory, disrespecting its importance in history and degrading women. The letter also asked Wayne how he would feel if that was his child, which is a good question.
According to an article featured on “The Grio,” Epic Records was working toward pulling the controversial lyric from the “unauthorized” release of the remix. I am in no way surprised at the inclusion of such an offensive lyric. What many fail to realize is that along with being an entertainer comes a sense of social responsibility. Socially irresponsible entertainers need to become better educated and more socially conscious of the effects their actions have on society and, specifically, the youth. Entertainers are on a platform that allows them to use their talents and influence people in society. That’s a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
It is crucial that we provide our youth with positive images of black people. Modern hip-hop music, unfortunately, is an example of how far we as a community have strayed from standards of conduct and decency for the sake of a dollar, record sales or a fleeting moment of fame. I encourage all actors, athletes, recording artists, politicians and, more importantly, the parents of today’s youth to understand their responsibility as role models. It is important to maintain positive images to advance the common good of our community.