The use of song lyrics in court has been a hot topic over the years, especially in regard to rap music. While Jay-Z, along with other artists, are pushing for the use of rap lyrics to be inadmissible in court and treated as artistic expression, in Atlanta, prosecutors are using lyrics against Young Thug and Gunna to prove that they were behind many of the crimes there accused of being involved in.
Now, 300 Entertainment co-founder Kevin Liles is teaming up with Atlantic Records COO Julie Greenwald to start a petition that would ban rap lyrics from being used in court.
The “Rap Music on Trial: Protect Black Art” petition seeks to pass Federal and State laws that limit prosecutors from using “creative and artistic expression as evidence against defendants in criminal trials.” The petition uses the YSL RICO case as an example as prosecutors are using Young Thug’s and Gunna’s lyrics against them in order to prove their involvement in the alleged crimes.
“Weaponizing creative expression against artists is obviously wrong. But what gets us so upset is what’s happening to Young Thug, Gunna, and YSL is just the most high-profile case,” Liles and Greenwald said in a joint statement. “In courtrooms across America, Black creativity and artistry is being criminalized. With increasing and troubling frequency, prosecutors are attempting to use rap lyrics as confessions, just like they’re doing in this case.”
The two music industry executives applauded the New York Senate for passing State Bill S7527, which aims to “protect freedom of speech and artistic expression in New York State. This bill effectuates the enhanced free speech protections provided by the New York State Constitution, ensuring that criminal defendants are tried based upon evidence of criminal conduct, not the provocative nature of their artistic works and tastes.”
You can view the “Rap Music on Trial: Protect Black Art” petition and sign it here.