protect black art

We’ve been covering the campaign in the US against rap lyrics being used as evidence in court cases, with the ‘Protect Black Art’ campaign winning support from labels, streaming services and artists alike.

Now there’s news on the legislative accompaniment to the campaign: the Restoring Artistic Protection Act, which has been reintroduced by Democrat congressmen Jamaal Bowman and Hank Johnson.

It’s known as the RAP Act for short, and while it covers lyrics from all genres, the spur is the growing number of young Black artists being convicted for crimes after their lyrics have been used as evidence against them.

“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,” said Bowman.

“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.”

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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