Now it's Lil Wayne: "Beat that p**** like Emmett Till."
As most know, Lil Wayne was pulled from Mountain Dew deal due to using sexual reference of Emmett Till, a fourteen year old boy who died during the time civil rights era.
Okay...so this is getting ridiculous. I understood why Reebok decided to drop Rick Ross from its deal but now Lil Wayne???
Do I feel that Lil Wayne should have been dropped off of the business deal?
Do I feel that Rick Ross's lyric controversy had some influence in Mountain Dew's decision in dropping Lil Wayne?
Lil Wayne is no stranger to controversy, let alone controversial lyrics. However, this isn't the first time he has referenced Emmett Till in a song. The Drought III mixtape (one of my favorites) features a remix to the song "It's Me Bitches" with producer/rapper Swizz Beats. In the song it states:
"George Gervin, I'mma get my chill on / Beating up your block, yeah I get my Emmett Till on"Granted, this is the only song I could find that mentions Emmett Till, but I believe there was another one. I just cannot think of it right now. **Brain Fart**
That mixtape was released April 13, 2007. Six years and 20 days later, the Emmett Till family is just now hearing the reference. Meaning, the Till family would not have known about the controversial reference if it Mountain Dew would not have given Lil Wayne the boot in the first place!
Let's be clear, I am not saying the Till's should not have taken offended by the rap line. Emmett Till's tragic death in a time where equal rights was not properly exercised is one that will never be forgotten. However, I do feel that companies need to do more of their research before signing an agreement for artist to represent their brand. Simply put, I believe it is Mountain Dew's fault. That's right! I said it!
Lil Wayne is known for his sexual, explicit, gang violence, and marijuana advocate lyrics. This is his image in the entertainment world. He could be someone very different in his personal life, but to the fans he carries the usual stereotypes associated with any rapper. What people fail to realize is that creativity and disrespect--strangely enough--goes hand in hand in the entertainment world. It's a common thing in which people never understands the real intent behind the lyrics. He did send an apology letter out to the family which I can respect.
Personally, I believe that companies pay too much attention to the success of a public or popular figure. They do not carefully access what the artist do, or more importantly, how they act outside of their entertainer role. It is important to not only consider the success of the artist, but their comments and actions as well. Failing to review all aspects of an artist results to early and unwanted closures in business contracts.
A recent article written by Matthew Schwartz mentioned some great advice for businesses trying to have a pop star represent their brand. I will briefly mention the six tips and leave the rest to the readers.
1. Thorough Background Checks
2. Check for Relevancy
3. Ensure their are no Conflicts
4. Media Appeal
5. What's the Worth
6. Willingness to Do Media
Click here to read more on the article.
The most important are 1,4, and 6. The others are a duh?!?!
To conclude, these businesses are dropping rappers off their contracts like flies. One little mess up from one rapper can create a whole lot of mess ups for more rappers to come. It started with Rick Ross and now it's here with Lil Wayne. There's no telling who is next in line but I hope businesses and artists both learn their lesson to prevent these unfortunate losses. $$$