J.Cole who hadn’t tweeted in two weeks added this to his tweets last evening:
I said something in a rap that was offensive to those with Autism. Feel terrible. A tweeted apology wouldn’t do. dreamvillain.net/autismspeaks/
— J. Cole (@JColeNC) July 21, 2013
Response from his Twitter followers and others have been favourable. The full letter of apology to Autism Speaks can be read below.
Rappers generally feel that freedom of expression includes pushing the boundaries of acceptable “good taste” and resent recent pressure to “apologize”. From J.Cole’s lengthy post it appears clear that he feels that he did indeed go to far. The song has now been removed from Drake’s SoundCloud page.
However, no announcement has been made if “Jodeci Freestyle” will appear on Drake’s new album scheduled for relaese on September 17th.
Anna Kenneday OBE, was a strong critic of the songs lyrics and by the time of the apology the petition she initiated had well over 4,000 signatures.
Here’s his statement in full:
“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.