Drake, Mary J Blige, Extra Unite to Limit Use of Rap Lyrics in Courtroom

Artists, trade leaders, and authorized specialists have joined collectively in a name to “Defend Black Artwork,” publishing an open letter in the New York Instances and the Atlanta Journal-Structure urging legislators throughout America to restrict how artistic expression can be utilized in opposition to defendants on trial.

Particularly, it requires an finish to the racially discriminatory apply of treating rap lyrics as confessions. (See the total letter under.)

Artists and songwriters who’ve signed the letter embrace 2 Chainz, 21 Savage, 50 Cent, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Alicia Keys, Amy Allen, Child Tate, Benson Boone, Massive Sean, Black Eyed Peas, Breland, Brothers Osborne, Bryce Vine, Busta Rhymes, Camila Cabello, Christina Aguilera, Coldplay, Cordae, D-Good, Dave East, DJ Drama, DJ Khaled, Drake, Erica Banks, Fats Joe, Fredo Bang, Future, Giveon, grandson, Extremely Suspect, Hit-Boy, Ice-T, IDK, Isaiah Rashad, J. Cole, Jack Harlow, Jadakiss, Jay Electronica, Jeezy, Joey Bada$$, John Legend, KayCyy, Killer Mike, Lainey Wilson, Lil Child, Lil Jairmy, Lil Tjay, Lil Uzi Vert, Mac Phipps, Mary J. Blige, Meek Mill, Megan Thee Stallion, Michelle Department, Miguel, Moneybagg Yo, Morgan Wallen, NAV, Nessa Barrett, NLE Choppa, Normani, Omar Apollo, Pheelz, Polo G, Publish Malone, Quavo, Questlove, Regina Spektor, Robin Thicke, Roddy Ricch, Shordie Shordie, Shy Carter, T.I., Takeoff, Tanna Leone, Teddy Swims, Tee Grizzley, Theo Croker, Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, WILLOW, YBN Nahmir, and Yo Gotti.

The prolonged listing of signatories contains corporations similar to Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group, Common Music Group, BMG, Kobalt, and Atlanta-based LVRN and High quality Management, AEG Presents, Audiomack, Deezer, Stay Nation Leisure, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Spotify, TIDAL, TikTok, and YouTube Music; organizations just like the American Affiliation of Impartial Music, the American Civil Liberties Union, Artist Rights Alliance, Black Music Motion Coalition, Black Girls’s Roundtable, BLD PWR, Colour of Change, Basis for Particular person Rights and Expression, NYU Heart on Race, Inequality, and the Regulation, Folks For the American Approach, PEN America, Rap Coalition, the Recording Academy, the Recording Trade Affiliation of America, Pink Sizzling, Sankofa.org, Songwriters of North America, Sony Music Group’s International Social Justice Fund, Warner Music Group / the Blavatnik Household Basis’s Social Justice Fund, Woke Vote, and Common Music Group’s Taskforce for Significant Change; authorized and humanities students from elite universities together with Columbia, Harvard, Howard, Princeton, Stanford, and Yale.

Drafted and revealed by Warner Music Group, the letter reads partly:

“Past the apparent disregard totally free speech and inventive expression protected by the First Modification, this racially focused apply punishes already marginalized communities and their tales of household, wrestle, survival, and triumph.” 

Specialists have discovered greater than 500 instances involving rap as proof in public data, they usually word this quantity is simply the tip of the iceberg. For probably the most half, this doesn’t account for indictment proceedings, juvenile instances, or instances that finish in a plea cut price, and plea bargains are an amazing majority of outcomes in prison prosecutions. In the meantime, researchers have discovered solely 4 cases because the Fifties of non-rap lyrics being submitted as proof – three of these instances have been thrown out, and the fourth was overturned after conviction.

Legislators on the state and federal degree are already taking motion. Governor Newsom not too long ago signed a invoice into legislation in California, and there are payments presently into consideration in New York and New Jersey, in addition to the RAP (Restoring Inventive Safety) Act launched by Rep. Hank Johnson and Rep. Jamaal Bowman within the U.S. Congress.

The #ProtectBlackArt motion started earlier this 12 months when Liles and Greenwald launched a change.org petition, which right this moment has almost 65,000 signatures. 

Kevin Liles, Chairman & CEO of WMG’s 300 Elektra Leisure, stated: “For many years, a racial double-standard has been employed in opposition to Black and Brown hip-hop artists by turning their artistic visions in opposition to them in courts of legislation. Sufficient is sufficient. If prosecutors are unwilling to finish this apply on their very own, then legal guidelines must be handed that finish this flagrant abuse. On behalf of WMG, I wish to thank the extraordinary group of individuals throughout our trade and the authorized group who’re becoming a member of us on this essential struggle.”

Julie Greenwald, Chairman & CEO of WMG’s Atlantic Music Group, stated: “All through historical past, artists have created characters and solid narratives that replicate the tradition round them. That freedom of expression is important to the artistic course of and the function of artwork in society. The cruel actuality is that Black inventive creativity is being threatened at an unprecedented degree, and we should make each effort to cease this unethical, discriminatory method to prosecution.”

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