Music industry leaders, artists as well as legal experts have come together to form efforts to “Protect Black Art.” Artists are joining forces to urge the American legal system to restrict rap lyrics from being used as evidence in court.
Together, the group has penned an open letter titled Art on Trial: Protect Black Art which has been signed by three major record labels including Warner Music, Sony, and Universal. Other streaming companies like Spotify, YouTube Music and TikTok are also lobbying for the change. The letter was released by Warner Records on November 1 and has been posted to social media. There is also a petition circulating on Change.org to urge others to show their support. At the time of writing, the petition has 64,921 signatures and is looking to achieve 75,000.
In the letter, signatories urge prosecutors to stop “racially targeted” practices of using rap lyrics in trials, “In courtrooms across America, the trend of prosecutors using artists’ creative expression against them is happening with troubling frequency… Rappers are storytellers, creating entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain. But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalize Black creativity and artistry.” Earlier this year, the rapper’s lyrics were used in an indictment for gang involvement which led to Young Thug and Gunna being accused of the same offense. Both rappers remain in prison despite pleading not guilty. Variety reported the list of artists that have signed the letter
2 Chainz, 21 Savage, 50 Cent, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Alicia Keys, Amy Allen, Baby Tate, Benson Boone, Big Sean, Black Eyed Peas, Breland, Brothers Osborne, Bryce Vine, Busta Rhymes, Camila Cabello, Christina Aguilera, Coldplay, Cordae, D-Nice, Dave East, DJ Drama, DJ Khaled, Drake, Erica Banks, Fat Joe, Fredo Bang, Future, Giveon, grandson, Highly 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 Baby, Lil Jairmy, Lil Tjay, Lil Uzi Vert, Mac Phipps, Mary J. Blige, Meek Mill, Megan Thee Stallion, Michelle Branch, Miguel, Moneybagg Yo, Morgan Wallen, NAV, Nessa Barrett, NLE Choppa, Normani, Omar Apollo, Pheelz, Polo G, Post 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, Yo Gotti
We also encourage legislators at the state and federal level to explicitly limit how creative expression can be used against defendants on trial.
Read the full open letter: https://t.co/q3M6JjhSId#ProtectBlackArt (4/4)
— Warner Records (@warnerrecords) November 1, 2022
In other music news, Drake and 21 Savage have revealed Her Loss cover art.