Tesco mother of the year, and newly honoured on the Queen’s honours list for her work and dedication in educating children with Autism, Anna Kennedy OBE tells Autism Daily Newscast of the next steps in the fight against rappers use of discriminatory language.
On July 16, we reported Ms Kennedy had opened a petition voicing grave concerns over derogatory anti-Autism language in Drake and J-Cole’s newly released single Jodeci Freestyle. The petition asks for the Rappers to make a public apology to the families and individuals with Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
The lyrics: “I’m artistic, you n****s is autistic, retarded”, have upset millions of members of the Autism community worldwide. Ms Kennedy, mother to Patrick, 23 and Angelo, 20 both of whom have Autism, told us exclusively of her letter to top UK music retailer HMV asking them to remove the single from their shelves.
In her letter (see below for the full contents) she writes:
“I have also been speaking to Cindy Spitz, wife of the rock guitarist from Anthrax who are parents of children with autism, Carrie Grant Vocal Coach with 4 children and many others who are disgusted and upset by these lyrics which are getting air time in US and now in UK….
I trust you will consider the many concerns that have been raised by families affected by autism and will act to remove what is an offensive product to many people from your shops.”
The petition hit 2,300 signatures on July 18.
Speaking to Autism Daily Newscast last night, Ms Kennedy said: “They’re totally outrageous, autism is very close to my heart and I am very offended by those lyrics.”
With almost 50,000 twitter followers and 1,500 Facebook friends, Ms Kennedy certainly has the backing of the worldwide Autism Community. A number of British celebrities are now also backing the cause, including London actress Charlie Bond.
Ms Kennedy took a huge leap of faith in taking out a remortgage on her home because she was frustrated by the lack of educational facilities in her region in the United Kingdom. She used the funds to transform a derelict school into what has evolved into the largest school specialising in the education of Autistic children in Europe. Hillingdon Manor School was opened in 1999.
Dear Mr West,
I was given your name by a colleague and have also spoken to HMV Uxbridge where I live and hoped you would be interested in supporting removing a recently released track by J Cole and Drakes new CD Jodeci Freestyle from your shelves.. The words in one of their songs has upset the autism community all over the world .(I’m artistic, you n****s is autistic, retarded.”)
I have 2 sons with autism and am an autism campaigner and recently Tesco Mum of the Year http://www.tescomagazine.com/mum-of-the-year/winners-2013/anna-kennedy.html
I started a petition 3 days ago at the request of many families and it already has reached 2200 signatures. Please see one of many blogs to the autism community that has been written about J Coles and Drakes insensitive lyrics and my petition .
I have also been speaking to Cindy Spitz wife of the rock guitarist from Anthrax who are parents of children with autism, Carrie Grant Vocal Coach with 4 children and many others who are disgusted and upset by these lyrics which are getting air time in US and now in UK.
In conclusion I trust you will consider the many concerns that have been raised by families affected by autism and will act to remove what is an offensive product to many people from your shops.
Anna Kennedy OBE