Drake’s apology for autism joke is sadly incomplete
This week in things that really still shouldn't need to be said but apparently do still need to be said: Drake and J. Cole have apologized for making fun of people with autism. On the upside, they turned what could have been just another media shamewalk into a true example of learning from a mistake, and accepting responsibility with grace. On the downside, we still have a long way to go, everybody.
The controversy started over the track "Jodeci Freestyle," in which J. Cole declares, "I’m artistic, you n—-s is autistic, retarded." It's a flippant put-down that was rightly challenged for its hatefulness. Holly Robinson Peete, the mother of a 15 year-old autistic son, said on "Access Hollywood" last week that her son "loves J. Cole, loves Drake," and had asked her about the track, wondering, "What does this mean?" This, she said, her voice cracking with emotion, "is an issue… I just don't know that these artists understand the power that they have. Because my son is struggling to fit in. And I mean struggling. So when I see an artist with this kind of following, who is writing not just 'autistic,' but trying to make it the new R-word, it's not going to happen on our watch… I hope he apologizes and I hope he takes it out. Take it out."