House Democrats are pushing for a new law that would make it illegal for prosecutors to use violent lyrics by rap artists against them in court if they commit crimes, citing First Amendment protections.
On Thursday, Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., and Jamaal Bowman, DN.Y., announced they would reinstate the Restoring Artist Protection Act, or RAP Act. The bill would protect artists from having their lyrics used against them in criminal and civil proceedings, a practice more commonly practiced in cases involving hip-hop artists.
The couple introduced the law in the last Congress, but it failed to gain traction. The measure, they say, would add a presumption to the Federal Rules of Convenience that would limit the admissibility of evidence of an artist’s creative or artistic expression against that artist in court.
The basis of such a law, they say, is the freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
HAKEEM JEFFRIES BLASTED OVER CLAIM GOP DON’T WANT KIDS ‘TO KNOW ABOUT HOLOCAUST’: ‘Disgusting Lie’
“This legislation is long overdue,” Rep. Johnson said in a statement Thursday. “For too long, artists – particularly young black artists – have been unfairly targeted by prosecutors who use their lyrics as evidence of guilt, despite the lack of evidence that the lyrics are anything more than creative expression. When you allow music and creativity to be silenced, you open the door for other areas of free speech to be restricted as well.
“The government should not be able to silence artists simply because they write, draw, sing or rap on controversial or taboo subjects.”
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jefferies, DN.Y., backed the measure in a news conference Friday.
“I don’t think art and creativity should be weaponized in the criminal justice system and hopefully we’ll be able to get bipartisan support to move this legislation forward,” Jefferies said.
LAW PROFESSOR CATCHED FOR ‘CRAZY’ ARREST OF RAPPER: ‘THIS HAPPENS TO ARTISTS DON’T KNOW’
Jefferies was approached by a reporter for comment on the bill, which mentioned the ongoing case against Grammy winner Jeffery Lamar Williams, also known as Young Thug, who is fighting prosecutors’ efforts to use his violent lyrics against him.
Williams was arrested last year on charges of racketeering, participation in gang activity and illegal gun possession.
Prosecutors allege Williams’ record label Young Stoner Life (YSL) reportedly acted as a front for an organized crime syndicate responsible for “75 to 80% of violent crime” in Atlanta.
Court documents describe cases in which people allegedly connected to the YSL gang wore or displayed symbols of “YSL” in music videos posted to social media between 2016 and 2021 and rapped lyrics that included “YSL” or various descriptions of criminal activity were mentioned, according to a local ABC report.
GOP CONGRESSMAN FROM NEW YORK DEMOCRAT ON GUN CONTROL FALLS BACK WITH FACTS
In the 56-count indictment, prosecutors cite Williams’ songs from the same period, including Young Thug’s hit “Anybody” and several numbers from YSL’s 2020 compilation album Slime Language 2, including “Take It to Trial,” ” Ski” and “Slatty”.
Court documents cite the song “Slatty” as saying, “I killed his husband in front of his mother like f-lil bruh, sister and his cousin,” “I shoot out,” and “Kill her without leaving a trace.” ”
Prosecutors argue that the lyrics in “[p]Reserve, protect and enhance the Company’s reputation, power and territory [YSL].”
The Recording Academy, a key stakeholder in the music business, backed the proposed measure on Thursday.
“We must protect the freedom of artists to create at all costs and work to eliminate the bias that accompanies the unconstitutional practice of using text as evidence,” said CEO Harvey Mason Jr.
“Rap, hip-hop and any lyrical piece of music is a beautiful form of art and expression that needs to be protected,” Rep said. Bowman said in a statement. “It shows that when juries believe that lyrics are rap lyrics, there is a tendency to assume it is a confession, while lyrics for other music genres are taken as art rather than factual reporting.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
“This law would ensure that our standards of proof protect the right to free speech under the First Amendment. We cannot imprison our talented artists for expressing their experiences, nor will we allow their creativity to be stifled.”
#Rappers #violent #lyrics #court #Democrats #bill
More From Shayari.Page