Tuesday, March 11, 2014
LOS ANGELES - Epic Records Chairman Antonio "L.A." Reid has apologized to the family of slain civil rights figure Emmett Till, and his label is working to remove from circulation a remix of the track "Karate Chop" by Atlanta rapper Future that included a vulgar sexual reference by fellow rapper Lil Wayne invoking Till's name.
Mamie Till Mobley and her son Emmett Till are shown in an undated photo. Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago, was tortured and killed in 1955 after reportedly whistling at a white woman during a visit to Mississippi.
Mamie Till Mobley Family via The Associated Press
"Just ended a conversation with L.A. Reid, CEO of Epic," reads a recent post on the Mamie Till Mobley Memorial Foundation Facebook page. Mobley was Till's mother.
"He apologized to me and our family and stated the song is being pulled!!!! 'Future' owns the rights to the song so they have the power to pull it.
"Mr. Reid stated the song was leaked out and he had not heard the lyrics. He is a man of integrity that values our family's legacy and wouldn't allow such heinous usage of Emmett Till's name or dishonor his memory. We have yet to hear from Lil Wayne's camp. ..."
Till was the 14-year-old African-American from Chicago who was tortured and then killed in 1955 after reportedly whistling at a white woman during a visit to family members in Mississippi. An all-white jury acquitted two white men, including the woman's husband, of Till's killing.
Till's body was recovered and returned to Chicago where his mother, Mamie Mobley Till, insisted on having an open coffin at his funeral. The pictures of his battered body helped push civil rights into the cultural conversation in the U.S.
Bob Dylan wrote and recorded "The Death of Emmett Till" in 1962.
Epic representatives said they would make efforts to remove the remix from the Internet and replace it with a version without Lil Wayne's reference to Till. In the Future remix with Weezy guesting, Lil Wayne made a crude reference to rough sex and used an obscenity. He indicated he wanted to do as much damage as had been done to Till.
A representative for Lil Wayne did not respond to the Los Angeles Times' request for comment.
Future didn't share his feelings about the lyric in question, but he said he believes Wayne meant no harm.
"We did it from a good place with great intentions," he told MTV News on Friday night.
Airickca Gordon-Taylor, a cousin of Till, says Epic CEO Reid personally reached out to her on a conference call Wednesday evening that included the Rev. Jesse Jackson to explain and apologize. Jackson said in a phone interview Thursday that Reid said on the call that Future and Lil Wayne were cooperative.
"Once he got the point he realized this was beyond the zone and he immediately pulled it," Jackson said. "And he talked with both artists, who agreed."
Weezy has made no comment, nor has he addressed the issue on his Twitter account. Gordon-Taylor told The Associated Press there's been no attempt to apologize so far.
Grant's daughter now has a brother
LONDON - Hugh Grant says he has become a father for the second time.
The "Four Weddings and a Funeral" star used his Twitter account to announce Saturday: "Am thrilled my daughter now has a brother. Adore them both to an uncool degree."
He said both children "have a fab mum."
The birth was confirmed by Grant's publicist, Carrie Gordon.
Grant's sometime girlfriend Tinglan Hong, 33, gave birth to the couple's daughter in 2011.
Grant, 52, a critic of what he sees as press intrusion, joined Twitter last year as @HackedOffHugh to promote press reform in the wake of Britain's tabloid phone hacking scandal.
Willis' sequel debuts at top for weekend
LOS ANGELES - Bruce Willis remains a die-hard at the box office.
Willis' action sequel "A Good Day to Die Hard" debuted as the weekend's top draw with a $25 million debut from Friday to Sunday. The release raised its domestic total to $33.2 million since opening Thursday for Valentine's Day to get a jump on the long President's Day weekend.
The movie comes 25 years after the original "Die Hard" and six years after "Live Free or Die Hard," the hit that resurrected the franchise centered on Willis' relentless New York City cop John McClane.
The previous weekend's No. 1 movie, the comedy "Identity Thief" starring Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy, was a close second with $23.4 million to lift its haul to $70.7 million.
Debuting at No. 3 with $21.4 million was the romance "Safe Haven," starring Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel in an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel. Since opening on Valentine's Day, "Safe Haven" has taken in $30.3 million.
-- From news service reports
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Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch in "A Good Day to Die Hard."