Drake, John Legend, Mary J. Blige, Megan Thee Stallion, and other big names in the music industry published an open to lawmakers across the country to “Protect Black Art” and to limit how creative expression can be used against defendants on trial.

The letter was published in the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and specifically calls for an end to treating rap lyrics as confessions.

It was drafted and published by Warner Music Group and 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.” 

Warner Music Group Corp.

The #ProtectBlackArt movement began earlier this year with a Change.org petition, which has amassed nearly 65,000 signatures.

“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,” said Kevin Liles, chairman, and CEO of WMG’s 300 Elektra Entertainment. “If prosecutors are unwilling to end this practice on their own, then laws need to be passed that end this flagrant abuse.”

“Throughout history, artists have created characters and forged narratives that reflect the culture around them. That freedom of expression is essential to the creative process and the role of art in society,” explained Julie Greenwald, Chairman & CEO of WMG’s Atlantic Music Group. “The harsh reality is that Black artistic creativity is being threatened at an unprecedented level, and we must make every effort to stop this unethical, discriminatory approach to prosecution.”

The lengthy list of diverse signatories includes companies and organizations like Sony Music Group, AEG Presents, Live Nation Entertainment, Spotify, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Recording Academy, and more.

Other artists and songwriters who have signed the letter include 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, Black Eyed Peas, Brothers Osborne, Camila Cabello, Christina Aguilera, Coldplay, DJ Khaled, Ice-T, Michelle Branch, Morgan Wallen, and more.

Gov. Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill into law in California that would limit the use of hip-hop lyrics as criminal evidence in court proceedings.

This comes months after the high-profile arrests of Atlanta-based rappers Young Thug, whose real name is Jeffery Williams, and Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens. The two were among more than two dozen individuals arrested by authorities on felony racketeering charges. 

Prosecutors allege that Thug formed a street gang and promoted his gang’s lifestyle through its music and social media posts. 

The indictment unsealed against them in Fulton County, Georgia, also included hip-hop lyrics from both artists’ music catalogs. The two have been denied bond and are set to appear in court in January.