RAP Act Introduced In Congress Would Ban The Use Of Lyrics As Evidence In Court Proceedings • Hollywood Entertainment News


Reps. Jamaal Bowman and Hank Johnson on Wednesday introduced the Restoring Artistic Protection (RAP) Act to stop the use of lyrics and artistic expression as evidence in criminal cases.

RELATED:NY Senate Passes ‘Rap Music On Trial’ Bill Preventing Song Lyrics From Being Used As Evidence In Criminal Cases

“Freedom of speech is the constitutional foundation the framers thought necessary to enable a new and free society to craft not only its own destiny through commerce and innovations, but through culture, expression, and art,” states Rep. Johnson. 

“It is no longer enough that the Bill of Rights guarantees that freedom: without further Congressional action, the freedom of speech and of artistic expression present in music will continue to be stifled, and that expression will be chilled, until the voices behind that protected speech are silenced. I thank my colleague Congressman Bowman for joining me in co-leading this legislation.”

“Rap, hip hop and every lyrical musical piece is a beautiful form of art and expression that must be protected,” shares Rep. Bowman. “I am proud to introduce the RAP Act alongside Rep. Hank Johnson. Our judicial system disparately criminalizes black and brown lives, including black and brown creativity. For example, Tommy Munsdwell Canady is a young 17-year-old kid serving a life sentence whose conviction heavily relied upon lyrics he wrote. I was deeply moved to hear that Mr. Canady continues to pursue his art in the face of our carceral systems that would otherwise stifle black art. He is not an outlier. Evidence shows when juries believe lyrics to be rap lyrics, there’s a tendency to presume it’s a confession, whereas lyrics for other genres of music are understood to be art, not factual reporting. This act would ensure that our evidentiary standards protect the First Amendment right to freedom of expression. We cannot imprison our talented artists for expressing their experiences nor will we let their creativity be suppressed.”

RELATED:Gunna & His Legal Team Insist He’s Innocent & Condemn The Legal System For Using His Lyrics Against Him

Since 2020, prosecutors in over 500 criminal cases have used artists’ lyrics as evidence against the artist.

As recently as last week, the Fulton County District Attorney in Atlanta allowed prosecutors to use rap music from Young Thug in a gamble to prove the rapper’s share in a criminal operation.

“Art is creative expression, not a blueprint of criminal plans. Yet we’ve seen prosecutors in New York and across the country try to use rap music lyrics as evidence in criminal cases, a practice upheld this year by Young Thug’s prosecutors. It’s time to end the egregious bias against certain genres of music, like rap, and protect the First Amendment rights of all artists. I’m proud the New York senate passed this legislation so that New York leads the way in treating artists fairly, no matter their race or gender.”

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Originally published at hollywoodunlocked.com

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