Rev. Al Sharpton attends the Ebony Power 100 Gala at Jazz at Lincoln Center on November 2, 2012 in New York City
*Officials from PepsiCo Inc. are scheduled to meet today with members of Emmett Till’s family and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Sharpton continued to press for the meeting last week after the company’s partnerships with Lil Wayne and Tyler, the Creator, of Odd Future to promote Mountain Dew sparked controversies.
PepsiCo and Lil Wayne have since parted over creative differences after the rapper’s offensive lyrics related to the civil rights icon Till. The company also pulled a commercial directed by Tyler that angered anti-violence and civil rights advocates.
The meeting to be held at PepisCo headquarters in Purchase comes as an outcry over offensive lyrics increases. Reebok recently ended its partnership with Rick Ross for similar reasons.
Sharpton said last week that corporations have a civic responsibility when deciding who they partner with.
Rapper Lil Wayne performs as boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. walks into the ring to take on Robert Guerrero in their WBC welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4, 2013 in Las Vegas
*Lil Wayne’s apology letter to the family of Emmett Till after crudely referencing the slain civil rights icon in a song was not enough for him to keep his endorsement deal with Mountain Dew.
The Young Money CEO wrote an apology letter to the family of Emmett Till and the Till family responded saying Lil Wayne’s letter was not an apology at all. So, the family continued to press PepsiCo to drop the rapper, with a petition.
Now the soda brand has dropped Lil Wayne.
“We do not plan any additional work with Lil Wayne moving forward,” said a statement from PepsiCo. “His offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.”
Emmett Till was a 14-year-old visiting his family in Mississippi in 1955 when he was viciously beaten and murdered after being accused for whistling at a white woman.
PepsiCo, the company that makes Pepsi and Mountain Dew soda drinks has announced that it is severing its agreement with Lil Wayne in the wake of his crude reference to civil rights martyr Emmett Till in a song.
The company had signed the rapper to to promote its Mountain Dew brand. However, things went south for both Wayne and Pepsi when voices of protests about his rap on the Future’s song “Karate Chop” started growing louder.
In the song, he used civil rights icon’s brutal death as metaphor for rough sexual intercourse. Till, a black teen from Chicago was visiting family in Mississippi in 1955 when he was killed, allegedly for whistling at a white woman.
PepsiCo Inc. said in a statement Friday that Lil Wayne’s “offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.”
The saga may be over for PepsiCo and Lil Wayne, however, the rapper still has issues with Emmett Till’s family because he hasn’t issued a satisfactory apology as far as they’re concerned.
*Odd Future rapper Tyler the Creator is calling the criticism surrounding his online ad for Mountain Dew “ridiculous,” particularly the blog post written by Syracuse University professor and social analyst Dr. Boyce Watkins, who called the spot “arguably the most racist commercial in history.”
On Wednesday, PepsiCo removed the spot after it was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence toward women. In the 60-second ad, a battered white woman on crutches is urged by an officer to identify a suspect out of a lineup of black men that includes Odd Future’s Left Brain and L-Boy and Trash Talk’s Garrett Stevenson along with a talking goat. The ad offended some who noted all the suspects were black and all of the cops were white.
Tyler quickly offered via Twitter to have a conversation with Dr. Watkins, but by Thursday morning, Watkins had backtracked a bit.
“Studied your music, I have an altered perspective,” wrote Watkins on Twitter. “Still could do without the ad, but I think you were well-intended. #respect.”
That was followed this morning with Watkins’ posting a 22-minute video discussing the issue and his respect for Tyler as an artist, the upshot of which is: “When it comes to that ad with all the stereotypes that were being presented to the American public… [who made the ad] doesn’t change what the public sees… [I still feel] the ad is not OK.” Tyler and Watkins have tweeted multiple times about the article and the situation.]
On Thursday afternoon, Tyler, the Creator spoke exclusively with Billboard about the controversy and Dr. Watkins’ video above:
What was the initial idea for the Mountain Dew ads?
Tyler, the Creator: It was just a goat who liked Mountain Dew. He wanted more. The waitress lady got hurt. He got pulled over by the cops, and the lady points out the goat [in the line-up], who obviously attacked her because of the Mountain Dew. And that’s it.
I guess people are claiming that it’s racist, which… you know, that wasn’t even portrayed in that commercial, there’s no type of hate being portrayed in that work of art at all — which I’m confused by. But this older black dude, Dr. Boyce Watkins, I guess he found it racist because I was portraying stereotypes, which is ridiculous because, one, all of those dudes [in the line-up] are my friends. Two, they’re all basically in their own clothes. It was originally supposed to be just two dudes, but Garrett from Trash Talk came with his friend and other people had showed up, so I just put all of them in that line-up, if you really wanna know the truth. Three, no [commenters] saw that commercial and said, this is racist. Everyone either said, “Wow, this is ridiculous, it’s a goat talking,” or they said, “Wow, this is the dumbest, why would they even make this?” So for [Watkins] to nitpick and notice that, clearly shows his state of mind is on some other sh– that I can’t comprehend, for him to actually sit there and for him to notice that it’s all blacks [in the lineup]. That wasn’t my intention.
It was crazy. It’s a black guy making this, and if it’s so racist and feeding into stereotypes, why in the first commercial that goes along with it, is there a black male with his Asian wife? In the second commercial, it’s a black male with a professional job as a police officer listening to hardcore rock music — which supposedly the stereotype is that black people don’t listen to that. The stereotypes are what I’m confused on, no one was even thinking about that. I was focused on that first zoom shot over their shoulders. That’s what I was stoked on. You know why? Cause I like film, and I like directing, and that’s where my heart was set. I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, let’s use all black [people]” or whatever. I wanted to use my friends. You know why? ‘Cause I don’t like using other actors. You can look at every one of my videos, and my friends are always in it. Saying that I’m racist — every video I got, Lucas is in it! He’s a little scrawny white kid. So what is this dude talking about?
Do you want to explain the context of the ad, and your sense of humor? People who don’t follow you might not know that Felicia the Goat is one of your running jokes. Can you explain the origins of the goat in your repertoire?
It’s just a goat. I just think a goat is funny. It’s no deeper meaning. They said, “Tyler, you can come up with any commercial that you want.” I said, “You wanna know what’s funny to me and my friends? An animal talking.” Why? Cause animals don’t talk in real life, so let’s make an animal talk. What’s a funny animal? A f—ing goat.
Dr. Boyce Watkins
You reached out on Twitter to Dr. Watkins saying that you would like to talk to him. This morning, he Tweeted at you and revised his opinion of your intent.
I read that. “I take back what I said.” [Note: Watkins actually said "I have an altered perspective."] Because you’re so quick to judge something that you don’t know the context, you’re so quick to call me a racist and other stuff, but he didn’t know where I was coming from. But then he looked at what I have actually done, and now he wants to take his statement back. “My daughters listen to you.” Okay, that’s confusing, because if I’m such a racist, and such a bad person, and feeding negativity to the youth, why are your daughters listening to me? That shows you’re a bad parent and a hypocrite if your daughters are listening to me and I’m such a bad person.
Then again, I look at it from his perspective. He’s an older black man. It’s a generation gap. He’s older than me. So the things that he had to experience with racism and stereotypes and being a black man in this country, is different from mine. I grew up in a generation where there’s white kids listening to rap and black kids playing hockey, breaking the norms and everything. He comes from a whole different state of mind when he sees that stuff. He probably was getting f—ed with by white people when he was my age. So for him to always have to break the [stereotype] of being a “black thug” when he was growing up, and for him to see that in a commercial, it probably hurts him.
But he has to realize that it’s a different generation now. He’s way older than me; he’s old enough to be my father. So I totally get why he would think that, but I also don’t understand why in life are you trying to point out the negatives. It’s a young black man who got out of the ‘hood and made something of himself, who’s now working with big, white-owned corporations. Not even in front of the camera acting silly, but directing it. I’m trying to be one of the directors. But instead of looking at the positivity from that, he’s trying to boycott Mountain Dew. Now that he’s doing that, not only is it messing up opportunities for me, but also maybe opportunities for another young black male who maybe looks up to me and wants to do that in the future. It’s ludicrous.
If you haven’t seen it, the ad features a goat named Felicia, an older beaten to the pulp white woman (a waitress) and five black men, including the goat in a police line-up. As far as most folks are concerned, right there you have a problem called racial stereotyping.
You see, the waitress, in bandages and on crutches, gets intimidated by Felicia the Goat (voiced by Tyler) and runs out of the police station screaming. Activist blogger/journalist Dr. Boyce Watkins couldn’t take it and wrote a post on his site, YourBlackWorld.net taking Mountain Dew and Tyler to task for what he described as “corporate racism.”
Tyler The Creator
But like we say, we bet Tyler didn’t see it that way. In an MTV News piece, he says he saw it as a way to take his wild, child-like creativity to new heights. When he debuted the final installment of his three-part commercial in New York City on April 24, the Odd Future ring leader was proud of his creation.
At first Tyler didn’t want to get his hopes up after learning that the soft drink company was interested in hearing his pitch, but at the urging of his manager Christian Clancy, the rapper/producer and noted video director took the meeting.
“I’m gonna tell them some stupid idea I come up with five minutes before the meeting and they’re gonna think it’s f—in’ retarded,” Tyler told veteran hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson onstage at his #CRWN interview series just minutes before debuting the commercial in question for a live audience. “I’m so used to people saying, ‘That’s f—ing retarded and I’m looking at Clancy like, ‘Yo are they serious’ and they actually liked it.”
The first commercial in the series follows Felicia the Goat (again, voiced by Tyler), who attacks a waitress after she fails to bring mass amounts of Mountain Dew. The second spot finds the goat eluding the police after a highway stop, and in the controversial third ad, the goat stands in a police lineup in the middle of five black men. The waitress, in bandages and on crutches, gets intimidated by the Felicia the Goat and runs out of the police station screaming.
That brings us to today. Under pressure, Pepsi yanked the Mountain Dew spots and issued the following statement:
“We apologize for this video and take full responsibility. We have removed it from all Mountain Dew channels and Tyler is removing it from his channels as well.”
Yes Tyler, Pepsi absolutely loved your immature, “child-like” idea. It got them just what they wanted, lots of attention. Unfortunately, it was too much for them to handle. And it sounds like you’re still clueless as to what you’ve created.
However, in the wake of the outcry over the ad, Tyler’s manger, Christian Clancy, says we’re wrong and Tyler meant no harm.
“It was never Tyler’s intention to offend however,” Clancy wrote in a statement he issued to MTV News and posted on his Tumblr on Wednesday (May 1). “Offense is personal and valid to anyone who is offended. Out of respect to those that were offended the ad was taken down.”
Read the full story at MTV News. Watch the controversial ad below:
*The family of Emmett Till is not letting Lil Wayne off the hook after spitting an offensive line about the slain teenager. The rapper is featured in a new Mountain Dew ad, but the family wants him completely dropped.
Wayne has been targeted by the family over his verse on Future‘s “Karate Chop” remix. On the song, Weezy threatens to “Beat the p—y up like Emmett Till,” referencing the fatal attack on Till.
Wayne actually never apologized for the line, but Future’s label, Epic Records, did issue an apology and edited the song. However it still leaked and can be sporadically heard around the country.
As a result, the family wants the rapper’s pockets to suffer.
“His lyrical indiscretions revived Emmett’s spirit simply to murder him again by trivializing the importance of those who have sacrificed, struggled and died for our equality,” a family member said in a video posted online.
Addressing Wayne specifically, she said, “I think that it’s important that our children see you take a stance to right this wrong.”
“It’s just mind boggling. It really makes me want to cry,” echoed Pastor Wheeler Parker Jr., a cousin who witnessed Till’s murder.
The 14-year-old Emmett Till was beat and tortured to death. His murder was considered a historic moment during the Civil Rights Movement.