Rapper Lil Pump’s apology for racial slurs only fuels the backlash in China
- Colombian-American rapper says sorry in Christmas Day video after initial Instagram post that included racist caricatures of Asians
- Thousands of Weibo comments continue to condemn him after Chinese rappers post tracks in response
American rapper Lil Pump is facing an ongoing backlash in China after apologising for a video he posted on Instagram that included racial slurs.
There had been hostility in the US as well as China from fans and fellow artists in response to Pump’s post on December 16, in which he used the phrase “ching chong” and made a slant-eyed gesture, in racist caricatures of Asians.
That prompted an apology from the Colombian-American rapper – best known for his 2017 hit Gucci Gang – in another video on Christmas Day, but the apology has brought further criticism on social media.
“I seen the whole thing going on on the internet and all that,” says the 18-year-old, whose real name is Gazzy Garcia, in the second video. “I came here to tell you from my part that I’m sorry and I apologise for posting that.
“It was not my intentions to hurt nobody or do none of that. I got Asian homies, you know. I f*** with everybody and I got nothing against nobody. It’s all love,” he says, smiling, before writing in the comments section: “Happy holidays, spread love.”
But a thread about the incident on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, had been read over 35 million times by Friday, with more than 9,000 comments, most of them unforgiving. Many also continued to post on the rapper’s Instagram page.
“The words ‘ching chong’ were so clear, who would believe you if you said you didn’t mean it?” wrote one Weibo user. “The apology is not an honest one, we do not accept and will not forgive.”
In the initial post, in a 40-second preview clip of his new single Butterfly Doors, Pump included the lyrics: “Smokin’ on dope, they call me Yao Ming ’cause my eyes real low! (Ching chong!).” As he rapped, he pulled the corners of his eyes. The post was later deleted.
The song immediately roused online protest. Chinese rappers, including Sichuan group CD Rev, or Chengdu Revolution, hit back with songs of their own, posting them on Weibo and music streaming websites. Diss tracks, in which artists verbally attack each other, are a key part of hip-hop culture.
CD Rev’s song, delivered in English, was titled F*** Lil Pump. Written by the group’s Li Yijie, or “Pissy”, it attacks Lil Pump’s racism, invoking the history of the United States and its treatment of black people and native Americans.
“The fact is you and white racists the same / Respect yourself, you’ve suffered the pain / You don’t know anything ’bout the history / Cuz you a nation of immigrants, and if you really won’t take it serious, check it out on those Indians,” he raps.
In a tweet that has since been removed, American rapper and Crazy Rich Asians actress Awkwafina also criticised Pump for the video’s “racist epithet”.