Hank Introduces RAP Act To Protect Artists’ 1st Amendment Rights

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To read the RAP Act: click HERE

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

“Songwriters of N. America fully supports and endorses the RAP Act, which prohibits the widespread prosecutorial tactic of using free speech and creative expression as evidence of criminal conduct. This tactic, rooted in systemic racism, is primarily used as a means to target creators of rap music who are often Black men. The RAP Act is our chance at correcting the system and preserving the right to free speech and creative expression for all Americans” – Dina LaPolt, Co-founder and Board Member, Songwriters of N. America (SONA)

“The Black Music Action Coalition support and applaud Congressmen Hank Johnson and Jamaal Bowman for this forward movement to right the systemic wrong of utilizing rap lyrics as evidence of crimes through the proposed RAP Act. Hip-Hop as a form of art is being critically endangered by this plague taking over our criminal justice system. Rap is undeniably the heart of not just popular music but American culture and deserves the same First Amendment protection as all other creative expression.” – Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, Co-chair of the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC)

“History has taught us that taking an artist’s creative expression out of context is dangerous.  The RAP Act prevents this and prohibits lyrics from being used against all artists in a court of law. The consistent practice by prosecutors of only introducing rap lyrics when artists of color are on trial is discriminatory and must be stopped. MAC applauds Reps. Johnson and Bowman for their efforts.” – Susan Genco, Board Member, Music Artist Coalition (MAC)

“I applaud Reps. Johnson and Bowman for introducing this bill to limit the admissibility of an artist’s creative or artistic expression as evidence against them in criminal cases. More than any other art form, prosecutors are attempting to use rap lyrics as confessions of criminal wrongdoing. With troubling racial disparities already present in the criminal justice system, this practice only adds to the uneven scales of justice that Black men and women face.” – Julie Greenwald, Chairman & COO, Atlantic Records  

“Today’s introduction of the RAP Act in the House of Representatives is a crucial step forward in the ongoing battle to stop the weaponization of creative expression as a prosecution tactic. The bias against rap music has been present in our judicial system for far too long, and it’s time we put an end to this unconstitutional practice. We extend our gratitude to Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) for their leadership on this issue, and we will continue to work closely with them to advance the protections in this bill that ensure all artists can create freely without fear of their work being criminalized.” – Harvey Mason jr., CEO, Recording Academy and Rico Love, Chair, Recording Academy Black Music Collective

“As a union of artists and performers, SAG-AFTRA is charged with protecting creative expression and creative freedom which are essential to our culture and our country.  Artists should never have to censor themselves for fear that their work will be turned against them in some future criminal proceeding.  We support the Restoring Artist Protections “RAP” Act, and we thank Congressmen Johnson and Bowman for sponsoring this legislation to protect our members right to freedom of speech.” –  SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland

“Today, too many artists, almost always hip-hop artists, face allegations of wrongdoing which rely heavily on their lyrics as evidence. Beyond the disregard for free speech protected by the First Amendment, this racially targeted practice punishes already marginalized communities and their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph. Black creativity and artistry are being criminalized, and this bill will help end that. We must protect Black art.” – Kevin Liles, Chairman & CEO, 300 Elektra Entertainment

“Creative expression is fundamental to great music and storytelling. Musical lyrics are entertainment – like poetry or a film script. We commend Chairman Johnson and Rep. Bowman for their leadership on this legislation.” – Dr. Menna Demessie, Executive Director of the Task Force for Meaningful Change and Senior Vice President, Universal Music Group

RAP ACT IN THE NEWS

WABE 90.1 FM “A Closer Look with Rose Scott: https://www.wabe.org/rep-hank-johnson-on-rap-act-the-full-toll-of-inequitable-mental-health-care-and-remembering-otis-redding/

The Atlanta Objective with George Chidi: https://theatlantaobjective.substack.com/p/1072450e-6446-4b94-a6e0-dbfa024042d2

BBC World News: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-62087286

Variety: https://variety.com/2022/music/news/rap-lyrics-crimimal-evidence-congress-bill-legislation-1235327683/

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