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In a big win for creative expression, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act, which restricts the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court in California.

In August, the Calif. Senate and Assembly unanimously approved the bill, AB 2799. Speaking to the importance of the legislation at a virtual bill signing ceremony were rap artists Killer Mike, Meek Mill, Too $hort, Ty Dolla $ign, YG, E-40 and Tyga, as well as CEO of the Recording Academy Harvey Mason Jr. Leaders from the Black Music Action Coalition and Songwriters of North America also joined the signing ceremony.

In a press release, the Black Music Action Coalition called the bill a “crucial step in the right direction” of not injecting racial bias into court proceedings, especially given the recent indictment of Young Thug and Gunna, whose lyrics were directly quoted and used against them in an ongoing RICO trial.

“For too long, prosecutors in California have used rap lyrics as a convenient way to inject racial bias and confusion into the criminal justice process,” said Dina LaPolt, entertainment attorney and co-founder of Songwriters of North America. “This legislation sets up important guardrails that will help courts hold prosecutors accountable and prevent them from criminalizing Black and Brown artistic expression. Thank you, Gov. Newsom, for setting the standard. We hope Congress will pass similar legislation, as this is a nationwide problem.”

Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, co-founder and co-chair of Black Music Action Coalition, added: “The signing of AB 2799 (The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act) into California law is a huge victory for the artistic and creative community, and a big step in the right direction towards our federal legislation – The RAP Act (Restorating Artistic Protection Act) – preventing the use of lyrics as the sole basis to prosecute cases. The Black Music Action Coalition applauds Governor Newsom for his willingness to stand with Artists and defend our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.”

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Speaking to Variety in May, LaPolt said the use of Young Thug’s lyrics as evidence against him in court is “unprecedented racism.” {snip}

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The post California Restricts Use of Rap Lyrics in Criminal Trials After Gov. Newsom Signs Bill appeared first on American Renaissance.

This content was originally published here.

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