Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, D-Nice, and More Unite to ‘Protect Black Art’

Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Jadakiss, D-Nice, and More Unite to ‘Protect Black Art’

Published Tue, November 1, 2022 at 9:53 AM EDT

Artists, industry leaders, and legal experts have joined together to publish an open letter in the New York Times and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to “Protect Black Art." According to Variety, the call urges legislators across America to limit how creative expression can be used against defendants on trial.

It's a topic that's been at the forefront of discussions for months, and the letter specifically calls for "an end to the racially discriminatory practice of treating rap lyrics as confessions." 50 Cent, Ice-T, DJ Drama, D-Nice, Busta Rhymes, T.I., Killer Mike, Jeezy, Jadakiss, Jay Electronica, Meek Mill, and more signed the letter. Additionally, companies supported the call including Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group, Universal Music Group, BMG, Kobalt, and Atlanta-based LVRN and Quality Control, AEG Presents, Audiomack, Deezer, Live Nation Entertainment, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Spotify, TIDAL, TikTok, and YouTube Music, among a host of others.

The letter to "Protect Black Art" comes after Gavin Newsome signed The Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act, which restricts the use of rap lyrics as evidence in court in California. Killer Mike, Meek Mill, Too $hort, YG, Ty Dolla $ign, Tyga joined the signing ceremony celebrating the moment. The Black Music Action Coalition called the bill a “crucial step in the right direction."

The "Protect Black Art" letter, which was drafted and published by Warner Music Group, reads in part: “Beyond the obvious disregard for free speech and creative expression protected by the First Amendment, this racially targeted practice punishes already marginalized communities and their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph.” 

Kevin Liles, Chairman & CEO of WMG’s 300 Elektra Entertainment, said: “For decades, a racial double-standard has been employed against Black and Brown hip-hop artists by turning their creative visions against them in courts of law. Enough is enough. If prosecutors are unwilling to end this practice on their own, then laws need to be passed that end this flagrant abuse. On behalf of WMG, I want to thank the extraordinary group of people across our industry and the legal community who are joining us in this critical fight.”

Read the full list of artists who signed the letter: 2 Chainz, 21 Savage, 50 Cent, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Alicia Keys, Amy Allen, Baby Tate, Benson Boone, Big Sean, Black Eyed Peas, Breland, Brothers Osborne, Bryce Vine, Busta Rhymes, Camila Cabello, Christina Aguilera, Coldplay, Cordae, D-Nice, Dave East, DJ Drama, DJ Khaled, Drake, Erica Banks, Fat Joe, Fredo Bang, Future, Giveon, grandson, Highly Suspect, Hit-Boy, Ice-T, IDK, Isaiah Rashad, J. Cole, Jack Harlow, Jadakiss, Jay Electronica, Jeezy, Joey Bada$$, John Legend, KayCyy, Killer Mike, Lainey Wilson, Lil Baby, Lil Jairmy, Lil Tjay, Lil Uzi Vert, Mac Phipps, Mary J. Blige, Meek Mill, Megan Thee Stallion, Michelle Branch, Miguel, Moneybagg Yo, Morgan Wallen, NAV, Nessa Barrett, NLE Choppa, Normani, Omar Apollo, Pheelz, Polo G, Post Malone, Quavo, Questlove, Regina Spektor, Robin Thicke, Roddy Ricch, Shordie Shordie, Shy Carter, T.I., Takeoff, Tanna Leone, Teddy Swims, Tee Grizzley, Theo Croker, Travis Scott, Ty Dolla $ign, WILLOW, YBN Nahmir, and Yo Gotti.

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