PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew has decided to discontinue its relationship with Lil Wayne, TMZ reports. The lucrative endorsement deal, believed to be worth several millions, was Lil Wayne’s first major endorsement with a corporate brand. The company’s decision comes days after it decided to pull the plug on a controversial commercial created by rapper Tyler, the Creator after reputable scholar Dr. Boyce Watkins dubbed it to be “arguably the most racist commercial in history.”
The company decided to sever its ties with Lil Wayne following outcry from the Black community in March about his derogatory lyrics in rapper Future’s song titled “Karate Chop (Remix).” The rapper compared the brutal beating of Emmett Till to a sεxual act. Till’s family detested the lyrics and rallied to have the song pulled from rotation at radio stations. Future’s record label agreed to remove Lil Wayne’s verse from the song and apologized to the Till family. Lil Wayne refused to apologize until this week. Many believe he only apologized in fear of losing his endorsement deal. Till’s family vowed to challenge Mountain Dew on their decision to have the rapper represent the brand. Their wish came true on Friday.
PepsiCo said in a statement late Friday said that Wayne’s “offensive reference to a revered civil rights icon does not reflect the values of our brand.” It 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. “That’s about all I can tell you at this time,” the statement from Wayne’s publicist said.