Rarely do I champion the notion of freedom of speech. As a muslim I know all too well the power and influence of the spoken word. The boundaries of Islam are clear in this regard. The mandate is,”Guard your tongue.” In other words, watch what you say, how you say it, to whom you say it and more importantly analyze why you’re saying it. As much as I emphasize “freedom of speech” is a fallacy there are people in this world that buy into it hook, line and sinker. Bring in Dwayne. You know.. Lil Wayne. The American rapper who went from a gifted lyricist, by painting the woes of inner city life for other people and cultures to see, to a couple of grapes short of a fruit salad “emcee.” There is something very amiss here. Even his art seems to be telling us Lil Wayne has not only lost touch with his lyrical roots, but he’s losing touch with humanity. Remember his LP I’m Not a Human Being (I and II)? Think about the message he sends just on the surface. How much more warning and indication do we need to understand something worth paying attention to is happening here? Recently, Lil Weeziana came under fire for releasing a song called “Karate Chop“. In this song was a lyric “beat the P**** up like Emmett Till.” The reaction from the Black community and family of Emmett Till came swift and hard. Click the Read More button to find out what Emmett Till’s family have to say.
I admit it is hard to draw a clear line where art should be censored. There are some who believe, because of this difficulty, it should not be censored at all. I can’t agree entirely. But what I can say is there is nothing ingenuous about this reference. There is no ‘art’ in the statement. Wayne’s ability to produce material that indicates a withdrawal from humanity, common sense and reality can’t continue to be given a pass from any community. Stevie Wonder was certainly unimpressed.
“Sometimes people have to put themselves in the place of people who they are talking about,” Wonder said. “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.”
Let’s be clear about this ‘Karate Chop’ remix featuring Future. No one should have to tell you this shouldn’t be said. But in case it slipped by you, then EVERYONE around you should have the common sense to stop you. The mention of the name Emmett Till still makes the hairs on the necks of African Americans stand on end. If anything, there is sort of an unspoken moratorium among African Americans -you can’t say anything negative about Emmett Till. This is a fail on so many levels. The murder of Emmett Till in 1955 for whistling at a white woman is not open to artistic interpretation. LA Reid pulled the unauthorized release. There was conference with Jesse Jackson to do some damage control. However, the family of Emmett Till had already gotten wind of it and released their reaction.
The good in all of this is everyone is willing to reach out to Lil Wayne. The only problem is Lil Wayne isn’t reaching back. He’s been silent and the world is waiting to see if he will man up and apologize or if he will remain silent. Someone needs to help Lil Wayne before something more terrible than this lapse of sound judgement occurs. What do you think? Will Wayne come forward and apologize? Leave me your thoughts below.