J. Cole ended up in hot water with autism advocates after offensive lyrics he used on Drake’s “Jodeci Freestyle.” The Roc Nation rapper, along with Drake, were both targeted by the Anti-Bullying Alliance in a petition against the rappers for the following line rapped by Cole:
“I’m artistic, you n*ggas is autistic.”
After catching word of the petition, Cole took to Twitter to express his regret along with a link to an apology. Read it below.
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 as and 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.
A young autistic rapper by the name of Russell Lehmann posted a video to YouTube dissing Cole for his offensive lyrics.
After seeing his apology, Lehmann later went to Twitter to thank Cole saying:
Russell Lehmann @AutisticPoet: Thank you @JColeNC for your apology. I accept it. Much appreciated. http://rapdose.com/2013/07/21/autistic-rapper-disses-j-cole-for-retarded-jodeci-freestyle-lyrics … #JCole #Drake #Rap #Autism
Drake also issued an apology on his blog. We’re proud of both artists for correcting their mistake!