by Candice Choi and Chris Talbott
NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo is bowing to public pressure for the second time in a week and cutting ties with Lil Wayne over the rapper’s crude lyrical reference to civil rights martyr Emmett Till.
Lil Wayne, one of the biggest stars in pop music, had a deal to promote the company’s Mountain Dew soda.
Earlier this week, PepsiCo also pulled an online ad for the neon-colored soda that was criticized for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence toward women. That ad was developed by rapper Tyler, the Creator.
On Friday, PepsiCo said in a statement 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 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,” she said.
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.
But the Till family said the letter fell short of an apology.
“It’s mindboggling to me that they partnered with him in the first place,” said the Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., a Till cousin and witness to his abduction. “Major corporations should scrutinize who they endorse, don’t let greed or money determine who you sponsor.”