Tuesday (November 1) The Guardian reported that a letter has been circulating with the title Art on Trial: Protect Black Artand it includes signatures from big name artists like 50, Cole, Scott and others like Post Malone, Alicia Keys, Megan Thee Stallion and more.
Alongside these signatures are the three major record companies, Warner, Sony and Universal, and companies such as Spotify, TikTok and YouTube Music, who support the new petition.
The letter was written by Warner, who also published it Thursday along with the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The content of the letter calls on prosecutors to stop using rap as evidence in court cases, and for state and federal lawmakers to limit how much of this work can be used against defendants.
“In courtrooms across America, the trend of prosecutors using artists’ creative expressions against them is occurring with alarming frequency,” the letter read. “Rappers are storytellers who create entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain. But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially used as confessionals in an attempt to criminalize black creativity and artistry.”
The letter went on to refer to the “blatant disregard” for freedom of expression: “The use of lyrics against artists in this way is un-American and simply wrong.”
2 Chainz, John Legend, Killer Mike, Mary J Blige and several signed the letter. In January, JAY-Z, Kelly Rowland and Meek Mill did the same when they supported preventing rap lyrics from being used as evidence in criminal cases.
The latest letter will come later Young Thug, Gunna and several other YSL members were arrested on RICO charges in May. Thug and Gunna had several of their rap lyrics used in an indictment for suspected gang involvement and other offenses as they allegedly constituted “an overt act in furtherance of this conspiracy.”
Both artists have pleaded not guilty and remain in jail ahead of their trials, despite several attempts by their legal team to have them released.