October 25, 2016

CC BY by Jeffery Simpson
CC BY by Jeffery Simpson

We have been following with some enthusiasm Anna Kennedy OBE’s crusade to remove derogatory lyrics from the J.Cole and Drake single, Jodeci Freestyle.

On July 19, Ms Kennedy shared with Autism Daily Newscast her letter to top British music retailer HMV, urging them to remove the single from their shelves.

The reply from HMV Manager, Mr Steve West is shown below.

Good Afternoon

Please accept my apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

I fully understand your concerns but, as a retailer we do not believe in censoring the choice that is made available to customers and feel they should have the opportunity to decide for themselves whether they purchase an item or not.

My understanding is that this particular track is not commercially available in physical format as yet and is not due for release until September.

Apologies again for the lateness of the reply.

Best regards


J. Cole (DJ Zeke cropped out)
By COLE_ZEKE_WIKI.jpg: Candice Rose, LBF! derivative work: C.Fred (talk) Candice Rose

An apology was issued by the rapper J.Cole in a personal blog post on July 21. In his very public and seemingly sincere apology the rapper states:

“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.”

He continues by saying that he is trying to educate himself about Autism, referring to the lyric as offensive and ignorant.

Ms Kennedy, who’s online petition has now closed on 4,549 signatures, was delighted to hear the news.

However, as the single is released in the UK in today, she, and the Autism Community as a whole will continue applying pressure on the music industry, and the producers of the single to apply dubbing techniques to erase the lyric.

Ms Kennedy said:

“I am very pleased that J.Cole has apologised and wishing to learn more about autism. I received a YouTube link from a teenager in America who was in tears over this song. I am being interviewed by Sky on Friday and BBC radio London this Sunday regarding this. I have no idea about the dubbing- this surely is a must since the song has launched in UK today. I spoke to Candi Spitz today and she said we made a great team and held hands across the sea.”

About the author 

Shân Ellis

Shân Ellis, is a qualified journalist with five years experience of writing features, blogging and working on a regional newspaper. Prior to working as a journalist, she was a ghost writer for top publishers and was closely involved in the editing and development of book series. Shân has a degree in the sciences, and 5 A levels. She lives in the UK and is the mother of an autistic child.

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