Stop Drake, J.Cole, & Warner Brothers Records from promoting hatred of autistics/people with autism, & people with intellectual disabilities
  • Petitioned Andrew Ludwick

This petition was delivered to:

Warner Brothers Press Division
Andrew Ludwick
Warner Brothers Marketing Division
Xavier Ramos
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Communications Department
The ARC of the United States
Autism Society of America
Darlene Allen

Stop Drake, J.Cole, & Warner Brothers Records from promoting hatred of autistics/people with autism, & people with intellectual disabilities

    1. Morenike Giwa Onaiwu
    2. Petition by

      Morenike Giwa Onaiwu

      Houston, United States

  1.  
  2.   
July 2013

Victory

Morenike Giwa: NEVER underestimate the power of ONE voice and ONE vote! In a matter of days, nearly 4,000 people signed this petition, and thousands of other people who signed petitions just like it all over the Internet (THANK YOU, Bella of New York, and Anna Kennedy Online, Anti- Bullying Alliance, Holly Robinson Peete, and others I am forgetting to name). J.Cole has issued a public apology! Though this does not erase the sting of the hurtful, hateful words, at least it sets a precedent that it is NOT appropriate to spread hate speech. My friends far and wide, we have WON!!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. I couldn't have done this without you. I am so appreciative that so many people care about this; it gives me so much hope that my children will grow up in a society that is becoming increasingly more tolerant of those who are "different." Because truly, who among us isn't different in some way? This victory is for you, Legacy. And Lukas. And Daniel. And role models like Temple and Carly. And for those anonymous adults and children with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities as well as the families, friends, and communities they are a part of...and everyone who is standing up for a caring, tolerant society. And this is for you. Much love!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Blessings, Morénike

UPDATE:  THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Thanks to nearly 4,000 of you, as of July 22, 2013, both Drake and J.Cole have issued public apologies and have also stated that the offensive lyrics will be removed!  Thank you, Drake and J. Cole, for standing up and doing the right thing!  To do so takes a tremendous amount of courage. Their apologies are available for viewing at the links below:

http://www.dreamvillain.net/autismspeaks/ 

http://octobersveryown.blogspot.com/2013/07/j.html

DEMANDS: A public apology and immediate removal of the offensive lyrics 

This summer, Drake, a world famous rapper whose OVO label is under Warner Brothers Records, released a song (in collaboration with J.Cole) entitled "Jodeci Freestyle" that contains hurtful language, using "autistic" as an insult as well as "retarded." Today, I sent this Facebook message to Drake:

"Dear Drake,

My name is Morénike, and today I learned that lyrics to your song "Jodeci Freestyle" contain hurtful references to individuals on the autism spectrum and those with intellectual disabilities. Currently 4 million Americans have intellectual disabilities, including a disproportionate amount of individuals from lower socio-economic backgrounds and/or people of color. In addition, one in every 88 Americans has a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, including my two youngest children, ages two and four years--and also most likely also me.

My children are the most amazing people on this planet. They are beautiful, sensitive, attentive to detail, and strong. I want them to love themselves and be proud of who they are. They are different--they are NOT less. There is already a massive lack of awareness of neuro-developmental disabilities such as autism and intellectual disability, and what little people do know tends to focus on deficits and/or stereotypes. The strengths and positive qualities of those with these conditions is minimized or ignored altogether in favor of messages that create pity, stigma, and stereotypes.

While there is absolutely nothing shameful about having an intellectual/developmental disability, it is hateful, ableist, and discriminatory to use terms such as "autistic" and "retarded" as slurs. Being autistic or having an intellectual disability ("retarded" is no longer the preferred terminology) should not warrant hatred and insults. You are a world-renowned artist with millions of fans and a huge impact, and could have used your influence to educate people and promote acceptance of disabled children and adults. Instead, you did the exact opposite. There is already a high percentage of co-morbid anxiety, depression, PTSD, and suicidality among youth and adults with these conditions, at least in part because of how society treats them. People’s ignorance and cruelty can be far more disabling than the diagnoses themselves. It is categorically UNACCEPTABLE to treat ANYONE with the disregard that you have shown us in your music.

I implore you to do the right thing, Aubrey. (I still think of you as the same Aubrey Graham I used to watch as “Jimmy” on Degrassi.) Man up and apologize for the hateful lyrics. Admit your wrongdoing, and take the time to become better informed. Maybe you might be inspired to work WITH us and fight for the rights of disabled populations rather than tearing us down.

Respectfully,

Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu, Advocate
July 11, 2013"

However, the responsibility does not rest solely with Drake. Warner Brothers Records should not permit these lyrics to remain on this song. The label should issue a public apology and should insist that Drake rewrite this song with other words. The current version of this song should be pulled immediately, and perhaps the label and/or the artist should assist in making amends by working with the Arc, Autism Society of America, the Coalition for Independent Living, the Organization for Autism Research, the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, or any number of organizations that assist these populations to develop a PSA, a resource guide, a website, a scholarship, or some other mechanism to promote inclusion and acceptance rather than hate.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Drake Apologizes and Promises to Remove the Offensive Lyric!

      Morenike Giwa Onaiwu
      Petition Organizer

      This evening (July 22, 2013), Drake also issued a public apology on his website, and explicitly stated that the and J. Cole agreed that the hurtful lyric was to be removed! Thank you to all of you for your support, and thanks to both of them for doing the right thing! Drake's apology is available here: http://octobersveryown.blogspot.com/2013/07/j.html

    2. J.Cole Apologizes for Offensive Lyric!

      Morenike Giwa Onaiwu
      Petition Organizer

      WE HAVE WON!!! NEVER underestimate the power of ONE! An African proverb says, "When spiderwebs unite, they can tie up a lion."In a matter of days, nearly 4,000 people signed this petition, and thousands of other people who signed petitions just like it all over the Internet (THANK you, Bella of New York, Anna Kennedy online, the Anti- Bullying Alliance, Holly Robinson Peete, and so many others). J.Cole has issued a public apology on his blog: http://www.dreamvillain.net/autismspeaks/

      Though this does not erase the sting of the hurtful, hateful words (I still DEMAND that he change the lyrics!), at least it sets a precedent that it is NOT ok to spread hate speech. My friends far and wide, we have WON!!!

      Thank you with all my heart for your support. I couldn't have done this without you. I am touched that so many people care about this; it gives me so much hope that my children will grow up in a society that is becoming increasingly more tolerant of those who are "different."

      Autism Speaks

      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. I have to be completely honest and say there's a part of me that resents that. I view rap similar to how I view comedy.

    3. Reached 3,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Lori Alarcon CORONA, CA
      • 12 months ago

      I have a son on the Autism spectrum and agree that there are too many stereo types and not enough legitimate education about what it means.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • lisa disabato-moore TALLMADGE, OH
      • 12 months ago

      I have a child w autism and another who follows drake...no more!!!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Alicia L BALTIMORE, MD
      • 12 months ago

      Autism affects people not only in my family but in other families I associate with and it is nothing to be made fun of. I don't care for the lyrics used and wish the persons using them would take into consideration how their words affect other people.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Lynn Camhi PETALUMA, CA
      • 12 months ago

      My autistic grandson is not an inferior being

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Dedria Carr WOODBRIDGE, VA
      • 12 months ago

      I have an 11 year old son with autism and I am extremely disappointed by this lyric. What will be gained by insulting a community who are dealing with this life altering challenge? I admire the lyrical talent of Drake and J. Cole and I wish them the best, but it is extremely disappointing to hear them insult my community. I really thought they were better than that.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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