Music Exec Kevin Liles Petitions For A Federal Ban Against Prosecutors Using Rap Lyrics As Evidence Following Young Thug/YSL RICO Indictment
Music mogul Kevin Liles is joining the fight against U.S. prosecutors using rap lyrics as evidence.
The 300 Entertainment exec partnered with Atlantic Records’ COO Julie Greenwald to launch “Rap Music on Trial: Protect Black Art”. According to the change.org info page, the petition calls for federal legislation prohibiting the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court. The initiative comes weeks after rap artists Young Thug, Gunna, and other YSL associates were indicted on RICO charges.
The petition reads:
“Today 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.”
“This practice isn’t just a violation of First Amendment protections for speech and creative expression….This shameful and un-American practice must end. “
As previously reported, prosecutors in the Jefferey ‘Young Thug’ Williams case, submitted lyrics from the musician’s catalog to be used in the trial. Prosecutors claim the alleged YSL “gang” members recorded lyrics that are “overt evidence of conspiracy.” An example included in the indictment, are the lyrics “ready for war like I’m Russia”, which prosecution argues is a confession of criminal intent.
— No Jumper (@nojumper) May 25, 2022
Kevin Liles, 54, appeared in court last week to give an emotional testimony on behalf of Young Thug. The “Bestfriend” artist was ultimately denied bond, due to the judge’s concern over flight risk and witness intimidation.
However, Kevin says the fight is not over. In an interview discussing the new petition for reform, the music exec stated he’ll also be backing New York’s recent “Rap Music On Trial” bill. Passed just last month, the law limits the use of song lyrics as evidence in court. The legislation was backed by heavy hitters in the music industry such as Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Kelly Rowland, and more.
Though strides continue to be made in the fight to protect Black art, the new bill focuses on efforts to see federal change. The change.org petition notes:
“We need to step up, support these efforts, and get this bill across the finish line….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.”
Will you be signing the petition in support of protecting Black creativity? Chime in the comments section.