J. Cole wrote an apology letter to Autism Speaks for his "retarded" line.
Various groups and fans have been more vocal recently about being outraged and offended by offensive lyrics from rappers. Most recently we have the Lil Wayne Emmett Till line, and the Rick Ross date-rap reference, and the most recent, J. Cole's line on his "Jodeci" freestyle with Drake about autistic people. Now Cole has penned a heartfelt letter apologizing for the line.
There was a petition filed by the Anti-Bullying Alliance shortly after the track was released, but the NC native wanted to be clear that the letter had nothing to do with pressure, and it was just when he listened to the line again, "I’m artistic, you niggas is autistic, retarded," and saw how it truly negatively affected some people he knew he had to apologize.
In the letter he insists this was not to appease anyone, but just make right something he felt was wrong. He posted a link on Twitter and put up the letter which you can read below.
I said something in a rap that was offensive to those with Autism. Feel terrible. A tweeted apology wouldn't do. http://t.co/cyMbXubz3T— J. Cole (@JColeNC) July 21, 2013
Recently there’s been a trend that includes rappers saying something
offensive, only to be attacked for it in the media and pressured to
apologize. I have to be completely honest and say there’s a part of me
that resents that. I view rap similar to how I view comedy. It’s going
to ruffle feathers at times. It’s going to go “too far”. I do not
believe that an apology is needed every time someone is offended,
especially when that apology is really only for the sake of saving an
endorsement or cleaning up bad press.
With that said, this is not the case today. This letter is sincere.
This apology IS necessary.
In a recent verse on the song “Jodeci Freestyle”, I said something
highly offensive to people with Autism. Last week, when I first saw a
comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realized right away
that what I said was wrong. I was instantly embarrassed that I would
be ignorant enough say something so hurtful. What makes the crime
worse is that I should have known better.
To the entire Autism community who expressed outrage, I’m moved and
inspired by your passion, and I’m amazed at how strong you are as a
unit. I have now read stories online from parents about their
struggles and triumphs with raising an Autistic child and I admire how
incredibly strong you have to be to do so. It’s touching. It also
makes what I said even more embarrassing for me. I feel real shame.
You have every right to be angry.
To anyone suffering from Autism, either mildly or severely, I am
sorry. I’m bound to make mistakes in my life, but in my heart I just
want to spread Love.
I want to educate myself more on Autism, and I’ll gladly own my
mistake and serve as an example to today’s generation that there’s
nothing cool about mean-spirited comments about someone with Autism.
People with this disorder and their loved ones have to go through so
much already, the last thing they need is to hear something as
ignorant as what I said. I understand.
To the parents who are fighting through the frustrations that must
come with raising a child with severe autism, finding strength and
patience that they never knew they had; to the college student with
Asperger’s Syndrome; to all those overcoming Autism. You deserve
medals, not disrespect. I hope you accept my sincere apology.
[Update: Drake Issues Apology]
After J Cole made his heartfelt apology over the weekend, Drake decided to follow suit and take to his OVO blog this evening to state his apology. He also added that the lyric will be removed from the song. Drake's statement read:
"J.Cole wrote a beautiful and moving apology to individuals and families affected by autism who were understandably hurt by a verse in “Jodeci Freestyle”. I share responsibility and offer my sincerest apologies for the pain this has caused. Individuals with autism have brilliant and creative minds, and their gifts should not be disparaged or discounted. This was a learning lesson for both of us, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to try to right this wrong. J. Cole and I believe that it is the right, responsible, and respectful decision to remove the lyric from the song."