Olympic Medalist Michael Phelps was caught smoking weed once and was dropped from every major sponsor except for Subway because, to them, he was no longer a role model. However, when corporations like Pepsi advertise to the Black Community, it seems little effort is made in making sure the people they put forth as role models really are role models in life. How can Lil Wayne who brags about regularly dosing himself with codeine syrup and lies about selling massive quantities of cocaine across the border, be a role model for Mountain Dew's kids group. This isn't right. Recently, in a song he was featured on, Lil Wayne dropped this gem of ignorance:
“Bout to put rims on my skateboard wheels,
Beat that pu**y up like Emmett Till,
….Is this what PepsiCo stands for today?
Emmett Till was only 14 years old when he was kidnapped at gunpoint for whistling at a white woman in southern Mississippi. His eye was gouged out before he was stripped naked, shot, and drowned. Emmett's remains were so badly mutilated, that it fueled the civil rights movement and sparked national outrage.
Now Emmett's tragic memory is revisited once again. In early 2013 rapper Lil' Wayne released a verse on a remix track called Karate Chop. The lyrics state, “beat that pu**y up like Emmett Till”. Wayne remains silent; arrogantly refusing to deliver a single statement of commiseration to Emmett's family.
Lil' Wayne has a lengthy track record of exploiting racism and child abuse. In his song "Right Above", Lil' Wayne disrespected dark skinned women as being inferior to lighter skinned women (or "red" women, which is a slang for light skin). In a documentary titled The Carter Wayne places a 15 year old boy in a sexually coercive work environment, where he was vulnerable to getting raped as initiation into Young Money.
For years, many have watched Wayne’s destructiveness on the sidelines with the belief sponsors would respond. As no satisfactory response has been issued from PepsiCo, we are using social action platforms to demand accountability in ways many of us thought impossible a decade ago. A revisit of Emmett Till’s legacy is a chilling wake-up call: something must be done about the state of the music industry. Apologies are no longer enough. Even if he apologizes after so many months of opportunities, we cannot condone disparaging lyricism in exchange for empty condolences.
What we ask is that:
Dwayne Carter must be terminated from his endorsement deal with PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew brand, which is financing his upcoming tour.
Why this is important:
1) In addition to his latest remarks against Emmett Till, Wayne has a lengthy track record of promoting racism and sexual violence. Mountain Dew’s STOKED program is principled towards the “healthy living” of children. Wayne’s actions contradict the virtue of “healthy living” for children. Wayne claims that he is NOT “an example for how people should live their lives”, and states further that: “if you need an example for how to live then you just shouldn’t have been born.” Consider what that implies about children who profit from good “examples” and role models in Mountain Dew’s outreach programs.
2. Lil’ Wayne promotes racial inferiority of dark skinned women, implying that to be dark means to be inherently inferior to lighter skinned people.
3. Supporting Lil’ Wayne with endorsement money or radio airtime trivializes our nation’s brutal history with slavery and Jim Crow. Chris Robinson, director of Mountain Dew’s “Deweezy Project” expresses to the students in the Deweezy Documentary that “a thought in your mind can become a reality.” Youth emulate artists. The minimization of our nation’s history and its ramifications on today’s world can “become a reality” as well.
While we believe in an artist’s legal freedom of speech, what they choose to promote is not entitled to the people’s social support. By extension, they are not entitled to our money. We too exercise our own liberties.