Last month, Pepsi Co. broke ties with the rapper Lil’ Wayne over controversy stemming from a song released on his most recent album titled “Karate Chop.” In the tune Wayne describes beating a woman in a sexual act until part of her body “looks like Emmitt Till.”
Till was a young African American killed in Mississippi in 1955. Originally from Chicago, he was visiting relatives for the summer. At some point, Till allegedly whistled at a white married woman named Carolyn Bryant who proceeded to tell her husband of Till’s actions. Her husband, Roy Bryant and a friend, J.W. Milam proceeded to track Till down, nab him at gun point and drag him to a barn where they beat him mercilessly before shooting him in the head. The men then threw Till’s body in the Tallahatchie river where it was discovered by some boys fishing a few days later.
Till’s mother was so distraught and outraged that she had her son’s body transported to Chicago where she insisted Emmitt be given an open-casket funeral. His mother’s wishes were carried out and Till’s partially decomposed and grossly disfigured face was displayed at the service. The incident was published in the paper along with the photo of Till’s swollen corpse.