Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America

Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America

Mar 28, 2020, 03:00 pm at Auburn Avenue Research Library

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Event Address: 101 Auburn Avenue Northeast, Atlanta, GA, USA


The Auburn Avenue Research Library will host Professor Andrea L. Dennis, who will discuss her latest publication, Rap on Trial: Race, Lyrics, and Guilt in America.

Over the last three decades, as rap became increasingly popular, prosecutors saw an opportunity where they could present the sometimes violent, crime-laden lyrics of amateur rappers as confessions to crimes, threats of violence, evidence of gang affiliation, or revelations of criminal motive—and judges and juries would go along with it. Detectives have reopened cold cases on account of rap lyrics and videos alone; and prosecutors have secured convictions by presenting such lyrics and videos of rappers as autobiography. Now, an alarming number of aspiring rappers are imprisoned. No other form of creative expression is treated this way in the courts. Rap on Trial places this disturbing practice in the context of hip hop history and exposes what’s at stake. It’s a gripping, timely exploration at the crossroads of contemporary hip hop and mass incarceration.

Andrea L. Dennis, who lives in Athens, Georgia, is a professor at the University of Georgia School of Law; and was formerly an assistant federal public defender.

Event Start Date: Mar 28, 2020 03:00 pm

Event End Date: Mar 28, 2020 06:00 pm

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Auburn Avenue Research Library

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