Kevin Liles of 300 Entertainment and Julie Greenwald, COO of Atlantic Records have launched a petition against using rap lyrics as evidence.
Music executives Kevin Liles and Julie Greenwald are taking a stand against using rap lyrics as criminal evidence. This week, the two launched Change.com petition “Rap Music on Trial: Protect Black Art” on the use of hip-hop lyrics in court, a ploy recently utilized in RICO cases for Young Thug, Gunna and other Young Stoner Life associates.
“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,” said Liles and Greenwald 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. This practice isn’t just a violation of First Amendment protections for speech and creative expression. It punishes already marginalized communities and silences their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph.”
In May, New York State Senate passed Senate Bill S7527, also known as the “Rap On Trial” law.
“We need to step up, support these efforts, and get this bill across the finish line,” the statement continues. “We need to urge the prompt adoption of legislation at the Federal and State level that would limit how prosecutors can use creative and artistic expression as evidence against defendants in criminal trials.”
Earlier this month, Liles testified in court on behalf of Young Thug, after which the rapper was denied bond. “I’m kind of emotional because of how good this guy is,” Liles told the judge. “I’m willing to back him personally and professionally. … This whole thing that people are talking about, it’s not him. The Jeffery I know, he’ll give me the clothes off his back. The Jeffery I know, I can give him my kids and he’ll give me his kids.”