Lil' Wayne's crude name-check in ‘Karate Chop’ has caused controversy US, but who is Emmett Till?

  • @MsEllenEJones

Rapper Lil' Wayne is not exactly known for his sensitivity, but his latest lyrical effort plumbs new depths with a line that's not only misogynistic, but also dismissive of the civil rights movement. 

In "Karate Chop (remix)", Wayne threatens to "beat that p***y up like Emmett Till", prompting a complaint from Till's living cousin Airickca Gordon-Taylor, "My agenda is not to be disrespectful to Lil Wayne, even as much as I feel he's been disrespectful to my family. We just want Emmett's name to be removed from that song...He wouldn't even be out rapping these stupid lyrics without the sacrifice Emmett made."

Emmett Louis Till was a 5ft4, 14-year-old African American from Chicago. While on a trip to visit relatives in Mississippi, Till was brutally murdered by a white gang, for the supposed crime of flirting with a white woman.

On the day prior to his murder, Till visited a grocery store and spoke to 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant, who owned the store with her husband, Roy Bryant. Some accounts say Till wolf-whistled at Bryant, others that he called her "baby" - the exact details of their encounter are is disputed. In the early hours of the following morning Till was taken from his house by a gang led by Roy Bryant and murdered.

His body was found three days later, badly beaten, shot and with an eyeball gouged out from a socket. Till's mother insisted on an open casket funeral and images of his badly disfigured body were published around the world, drawing attention to the civil rights struggle in the South. Both defendants were later acquitted at trail by an all-white jury.

Lil' Wayne's record label, Epic have apologised for the lyric and pledged to remove the remix from the internet, but Lil' Wayne himself is yet to offer comment.