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Rapper Sorry For ‘Offensive’ Autism Lyric

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(Updated: July 23, 2013 at 1:04 PM CT)

After making critical mentions about autism in a recently-released song, a hip-hop recording artist is apologizing.

J. Cole took heat in recent weeks from many autism advocates over a verse he contributed to Drake’s “Jodeci Freestyle.” In the song, Cole says that he’s “artistic” while his rivals are “autistic, retarded.”

Now the rapper is expressing regret.

“When I first saw a comment from someone outraged about the lyric, I realized right away that what I said was wrong,” Cole wrote in a blog post. “I should have known better.”

Cole said the criticism directed his way prompted him to read stories online about parents’ experiences raising children with autism and he is now looking to education himself more about the developmental disorder.

“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,” Cole wrote.

Drake subsequently took to his blog to apologize as well and indicated that the lyric will be removed from the song.

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Comments (15 Responses)

  1. eva says:

    I don’t accept the apologies. First he had to write it, then record it. Is the music still being sold?

  2. Jeannette Solimine says:

    Until he changes the lyrics, and does something about the downloads and sold CDs (which nothing can be done about actually, but he could make an attempt), it’s just words and BS. Personally, I don’t think he wrote the apology and I don’t believe when he wrote the lyric, he didn’t know he was being offensive. Of course, he knew. That’s why he wrote it. He’s gotten a lot of publicity out of this and never once has he apologized for using the word “retard” or the word “nigga”, which both appear in the same sentence. I have two special needs daughters, one autistic, one not. I do not believe his apology. I don’t listen to his music anyway so I’m unimportant to him as far as his bottom line goes, but a lot of kids and adults out there do. And a lot of kids and adults with mental disabilities are going to end up hurt by this as a result.

  3. Cherylann LaSpada says:

    WHAT TOTAL DISRESPECT!!! I REALLY WANT TO MEET THIS SO CALL ARTIST! WOULD LOVE FOR HIM TO MEET MY SON AND SAY HE IS SORRY BUT THAT IS NOT ENOUGH! HE NEEDS TO GET IT OFF OF THE SONG AND PAY IT FORWARD BY DONATING TO FAMILIES OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN!!!

  4. Patricia Chandler says:

    J Cole and Drake are not sorry! They are Adults, they know how to Read and Write and DEFINITELY know the difference between being artistic, autistic and retarded and plainly let the World know. They are part of a vast advertising, marketing and branding empire and they Know Better. Someone should really help them to Understand How WORDS Kill a Persons Spirit and make them ‘put their Money where their Mouth Is’ so that others do not Keep making this same mistake! Curtis Jackson did the same, with the aid of Holly Robinson-Peete, to promote their respective “businesses” and they “trended” for Weeks, just on the heals of their lastest, New Ventures! This is the 21st Century, and we are witnessing the best of AMB – adverstising, marketing, branding, at a population of People in this most unCivilized world, who are known, though falsely, for not being about to Stand Up for themselves, Until Now! I Will NOT Leave this World Quietly! I can’t Wait until I get my first degree. Then, We’ll See the Next Person try and get away with this ABUSE Through WORD!

  5. Theresa says:

    If you read this man’s apology in full it’s the best apology I’ve ever heard. He takes full ownership of his ignorance and mistake. He’s trying to learn more about something he didn’t know about and hopefully will make good of his mistake. I don’t think we can ask for anything more. I’m not into hip hop or know who he is but think he’s a great example to youths when it comes to owning your mistake. I was told the song was collaborative so I’m not sure if he has the ability to make changes.

  6. Bianca Veritas says:

    Am I the only one who notices that practically every story on “Disability Scoop” is designed to keep readers in a perpetual state of outraged indignation? Some no-talent horse’s behind says something derogatory about autism, and it has to be reported? The rapper gets publicity for doing it, and even more publicity for the fabricated apology. How about some articles about successful people in CLASSICAL music? Itzhak Perlman, Thomas Quasthoff, Evelyn Glennie, and so many others?

  7. Valerie says:

    Is retarded ok?

  8. Debra says:

    I accept J. Cole’s apology. It’s more than I ever got from the school district that my child with autism attended. They were absolutely horrid to us, went around telling what they thought was our business, and calling me and both my daughters all kinds of names. At least J. Cole owned his part and had the decency to apologize. He could “school” a lot of school districts on how to apologize, which is something that most of them have no idea how to do.

  9. Golden says:

    I agree with Theresa. Seldom does one take responsibility for their words, it is even more rare that they will seek knowledge to better their capacity to contribute ideas, thoughts or music to society. If someone does not have experience with individuals with disabilities, how would they know? What do the have to counter the mass misconceptions about individuals with disabilities or impairments? (The answer is nothing.) Admitting he was disrespectful, apologizing and taking the iniative to expand his understanding of the Autism spectrum is a step in a productive direction. That’s behavior that we should encourage. There are plenty of people in the media who stand by their ignorance and justify their use of derogatory language (Ann Coulter). So when someone has the ability to realize they’ve made a huge mistake and they try to rectify the situation, we as allies, family members or individuals with disabilities should stray from shunning these individuals but invite them to expand their views & beliefs and give them that chunk of wisdom they haven’t had the opportunity to benefit from. Cherylann’s idea of exposure sounds like it would be a great experience for both artists. Encourage education on disability, and make socitey stop trying to ‘diss’ abilities.

  10. Marieanne says:

    Why don’t people think before they speak, sing or rap? Instead they make inappropriate comments and when called on it, they apologize- That is doing it backwards in my book of etiquette.

  11. Electric_Pink says:

    I am not a fan of J. Cole’s and have only heard snippets of his music when changing radio or TV channels. This young man was wrong. The lyric is offensive and it’s unfortunate that J. Cole did not think about the effect of his words before they were incorporated into this song for everyone to hear. It’s hurtful to hear. Still, I believe his apology is sincere and that he’s learning a lesson from this. I would hope when performing the song live, he will take care to replace the offensive words. However, I think it’s going to take more than him just reading about autism experiences online. The lesson would be stronger if he actually met with people with autism and their families. Sometimes, you have to take things several steps further than a verbal apology. You have to meet face to face with the people you hurt. What we as a society are sometimes terrible at is forgiveness. There are people who will hold a grudge against someone for perpetuity, despite the offender offering a sincere apology and attempts to make amends. We have to stop persecuting people and give them room to learn and grow from what they did wrong. Yes, hold them accountable, but no to the endless persecution. Forgive, educate and let it go. We all fall short.

  12. Patricia Chandler says:

    OM Goodness GOD Gracious! You All STILL Do NOT Get It! This was Purely, Succinctly, Plainly and Simply a Publicity Stunt. “Drake and J. Cole” are now Trending all over the net like crazy! As they are now be lauded as Young Apologetic Rappers who want to be Educated and Forgiven for their wayward miss-Worded ways! They are “Rivals” of Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cents who did Exactly the Same Thing On “twitter” just about 6 months ago; they saw the “results”, got the numbers and Wahla! Wake Up and Stop co-signing this horrific, mainstream, normal mode of Behavior! Please stop accepting these obvious Marketing Ploys!

  13. Michelepaetow says:

    Apology and regret not accepted. You did know better but you thought the insult would bring sales. Boycott Drake and J.Cole, protest at their concerts, it’s time to interrupt the statis-quo, people!

  14. Khadijah says:

    He said he was sorry, and he apologized for his ignorance. What else can he do? We forgive people all the time, notably celebrities for the goof ups they make. Are you guys still angry with Paula Deen for her blunder?

  15. Chris says:

    Despite the outrage of many posters, I think that this a positive step. I hear many people using these terms freely not aware of the effects of their statements. I am sure that to some degree everyone is aware the word “retard” is not a nice word, but I do not think the “Average Joe” realizes the impact language has. Prior to my exposure and work with people with disabilities, I did not think the word was nearly as harmful or sometimes devastating to societal views on those with disabilities. I applaud both rappers for reaching out publicly and making an apology, despite it’s intentions. The apology or act of apologizing is increasing awareness, making a statement against derogatory terms and is may assist in helping the mainstream population question their vocabulary to a greater extent.

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