Megan Thee Stallion to Stop Using Rap Lyrics as Evidence in US Courts
Big Sean, Alicia Keys, Jack Harlow, 21 Savage and More Sign Letter Against Using Rap Songs as a Means to Criminalize Black Artists
Dozens of musicians, music industry executives, legal experts and others came out in an open letter, “Art on Trial: Protect Black Art,” to protect creative expression and the use of rap songs as a means to criminalize black artists. prevent use. Add your signature to the letter that refers to the current incarceration of Atlanta rapper Young Thug – currently in Fulton County, Georgia – on charges that Rico used his song lyrics as evidence of an “overt act in furtherance of a conspiracy.” being held on charges of committing the “racially discriminatory practice of treating rap songs as confessions” was cited as a prime example of the damage caused.
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The letter, prepared and published by Warner Music Group, says that in courts across the United States, plaintiffs using artists’ creative expression against them are appearing with alarming frequency. Regardless of the medium—music, visual art, writing, television, film—fans clearly understand that creative expression lies in seeing and hearing artists; It is a reflection of the times in which we live. The resulting work is the product of the artist’s vision and imagination.
He continues, “Rappers are storytellers who fill entire worlds with complex characters who can play both hero and villain. But more than any other art form, rap songs are essentially used as confessionals in an attempt to criminalize black creativity and art.
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Among the signatories of the letter were prominent hip-hop figures such as Drake, Megan Thee Stallion, 21 Savage, Quavo, Meek Mill, Lil Baby, Roddy Rich, Jack Harlow, 2 Chainz, Lil Uzi Vert, Future, Travis Scott. , Big Sean, A Boogie with the Hoodie, J. Cole and more. It also received support from artists outside the genre, including Normani, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Coldplay, Willow, Givone, Nessa Barrett, Omar Apollo, Post Malone and more.
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Signature’s extensive catalog includes major music labels Universal Music Group, Live Nation Entertainment, Spotify, Tidal, YouTube Music, TikTok, SoundCloud and Atlanta-based LVRN and Quality Control.
“Such use of songs against artists is un-American and wrong,” the letter reads. “In addition to blatantly disregarding the freedom of speech and creative expression protected by the First Amendment, this racially targeted practice punishes already marginalized communities and their families’ stories of struggle, survival and triumph.”
The letter comes weeks after California Governor Gavin Newsom signed it into law to ban prosecutors from using rap songs as evidence in criminal cases. The law requires judges to press prosecutors to include the song as evidence and to determine whether there is “racial bias in the proceedings.” Ty Dolla $ign, Meek Mill, Tyga, YG, Killer Mike and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. attended the virtual bill signing in September. – some of whom also signed the Protect Black Art open letter.
“We urge prosecutors to voluntarily end this practice in our jurisdiction,” the letter continues. “In the meantime, we call on state and federal lawmakers to specifically limit how constructive expression can be used against defendants in lawsuits. There are already signs of hope in the United States. We commend Governor Newsom for recently signing the law in California and urge him to act on the REP (Restoring Artistic Protection) legislation as well as the laws currently under consideration in New York and New Jersey. It was introduced to the US Congress by Representative Hank Johnson and Representative Jamal Bowman. The work is not done yet, and we must all come together to protect creative freedom and expression.”