Pepsi is ending its relationship with rapper Lil Wayne after lyrics in the song "Karate Chop" caused considerable offense.
NEW YORK — PepsiCo is cutting ties with Lil Wayne after the rapper made a crude reference to a civil rights martyr in a song.
Lil Wayne, one of the biggest stars in pop music, had a deal to promote the company's Mountain Dew soda.
Pepsi said in a statement Friday that Wayne's "offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand." The company declined to provide any further comment.
A publicist for Lil Wayne, Sarah Cunningham, said in a statement that the split was due to "creative differences" and that it was an amicable parting.
The controversy erupted after Wayne made the reference to Emmett Till on Future's song "Karate Chop" earlier this year. He refers to beating someone during a sexual act and says he wants to do as much damage as was done to Till.
The black teen from Chicago was in Mississippi visiting family in 1955 when he was killed, allegedly for whistling at a white woman. He was beaten, had his eyes gouged out and was shot in the head before his assailants tied a piece of machinery to his body with barbed wire and tossed it into a river.
Two white men, including the woman's husband, were acquitted by an all-white jury.
Till's body was recovered and returned to Chicago where his mother, Mamie Till, insisted on having an open casket at his funeral. The pictures of his battered body helped push civil rights into the national conversation.
Wayne had sent the Till family a letter offering empathy and saying that he would not reference Till or the family in his music, particularly in an inappropriate manner.
The Till family, which this week had called for a meeting with Wayne and Pepsi representatives, was made aware of the decision Friday but did not immediately have a statement.
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