Rap on trial — decriminalizing artistic expression

LL Cool J, Professor Charis Kubrin

Look West episode features, from left: artist LL COOL J, Professor Charis Kubrin, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer and Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr.

Look West podcast features Professor Charis Kubrin and artist LL COOL J

Under the recently enacted Decriminalizing Artistic Expression Act, written by Assemblymember Reginald Jones-Sawyer, artists, particularly rap music artists, will not have their work used against them in a courtroom in California as a sole way of connecting them with a crime. In today’s episode of the Look West podcast, Jones-Sawyer sits down with Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy, artist LL Cool J and Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society. They talk about why this new law is so important and what it means for creative expression and avoiding implicit bias in the treatment of artists, particularly young men of color.

“I’ve done some experimental research that shows that jurors and others are playing on stereotypes that prosecutors are using about young men of color as inherently threatening and dangerous,” Kubrin says. “This experimental research shows that there are unique stereotypes and biases associated with rap in terms of perceptions of dangerousness and that sort of thing that you don’t see with violent content in other music genres.”

The podcast is available on YouTube, Apple and Spotify.

The Look West podcast is produced by the Assembly Democratic Caucus. Each episode provides a personal view of the California leaders representing you in the State Assembly. Tune in while these elected officials, influential leaders, and the general public provide a unique perspective on different issues affecting California, and learn more about the actions Assembly Democrats are taking to help lead the nation into a brighter future.