Kevin Liles, Julie Greenwald Push To Protect Black Art With New Petition

By Tony M. Centeno

June 10, 2022

Young Thug & Kevin Liles
Photo: Getty Images

Young Thug and Gunna are dealing with the ramifications of their ongoing RICO case. The charges they face are allegedly fueled by the lyrics they've created in the past. Now their labels are continuing to do their part to protect Black art.

On Thursday, June 9, 300 CEO-founder Kevin Liles and Atlantic Records COO Julie Greenwald sent out a petition in an effort to garner support and "step up efforts" to pass the "Rap Music on Trial" Bill in the New York State Assembly. In a joint statement, Greenwald and Liles, who recently testified on Thugger's behalf, highlighted Young Thug and YSL's situation as "the most high-profile case" of using rap lyrics as evidence against them in their

"Weaponizing creative expression against artists is obviously wrong," Liles and Greenwald said. "But what gets us so upset is what’s happening to Young Thug, Gunna, and YSL is just the most high-profile case. In courtrooms across America, Black creativity and artistry is being criminalized. With increasing and troubling frequency, prosecutors are attempting to use rap lyrics as confessions, just like they’re doing in this case."

"This practice isn’t just a violation of First Amendment protections for speech and creative expression," they continued. "It punishes already marginalized communities and silences their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph. It is a racially targeted attack, and this shameful and un-American practice must end."

Liles and Greenwald's plea comes after numerous artists like JAY-Z, Meek Mill and his REFORM Alliance, Fat Joe and others have pushed for the "Rap Trial on Trial" Bill, which passed in the New York Senate last month. Senate Bill S.7527, which is co-sponsored by Senators Jamaal Bailey and Brad Hoylman, "would not ban prosecutors from presenting lyrics or other material to a jury, but would require them to show that the work is “literal, rather than figurative or fictional.” The bill needs to pass in the New York State Assembly before it can be enacted into law. Liles and Greenwald are also urging New Yorkers to help support the cause.

"Enough is enough. We must protect Black art, creativity, and communities," they concluded.

Sign and share the petition by clicking here.

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