Summer Jam is an annual hip-hop festival hosted by popular radio station Hot 97FM in New York. The event, which is usually held in June, features the most prominent hip-hop stars that have swept the world music industry, offering fans extreme thrills in their live performances.
Notably absent from this year’s edition was “Hot” crooner Young Thug. The rapper was supposed to perform, but he couldn’t since he was arrested in Georgia last month on RICO allegations and has been in jail since then.
Although the rapper was not available to perform at the event, Young Thug found a way to compensate by delivering a message to Hot 97’s Summer Jam fans, thanking them for their support during a difficult time and encouraging them to sign a petition to “Protect Black Art.”
Read below for more details.
Young Thug’s Message For Fans
Fans inside MetLife Stadium in New Jersey saw Young Thug’s solemn yet encouraging message, which was aired as the show moved to its close.
“Hey, how y’all doin? This is Thug,” the rapper was heard in an audio message. “I just want to say thank you to all my friends and my family for coming out and supporting us. You know, your support during this time means a lot to us.”
The audio message was part of a tape shown on the MetLife stadium screens at the event that featured artistes like DJ Khaled, Polo G, and G Herbo expressing their support for Young Thug and Gunna, who are both now in detention for RICO charges.
Young Thug has garnered support from fellow high-profile rappers like Drake and Lil Baby since his last month’s incarceration. Also missing from the Hot Summer Jam music concert was YSL label mate Gunna who was arrested alongside Young Thug at the time.
Young Thug On “Protect Black Art” Petition
Young Thug was not just looking to give fans a feel of himself when he sent in the audio message, the rapper also used the moment to appeal to fans to sign the “Protect Black Art” petition which has been making the rounds.
“You know, this isn’t just about me or YSL, I always use my music as a form of artistic expression, and now I see that Black artists and rappers don’t have that, you know, freedom,” the rapper added. “Everybody please sign the ‘Protect Black Art’ petition and keep praying for us. I love you all.”
Meek Mill, who joined Lil Durk on stage during his set, also spoke to the crowd on the importance of the “Protect Black Art” campaign, further appealing to fans to contribute their voices by signing the petition. Since its introduction last week, the petition has received tens of thousands of signatures.
The ‘Protect Black Art’ Petition
Kevin Liles, co-founder of 300 Entertainment, and Julie Greenwald, COO of Atlantic Records, started the “Protect Black Art” petition. It demanded that lyrics not be used as evidence in criminal suits, following the indictment of Young Thug and scores of others in a RICO case that saw law authorities heavily rely on the rapper’s own songs to build their case.
“This practice isn’t just a violation of First Amendment protections for speech and creative expression,” the petition’s description reads. “It punishes already marginalized communities and silences their stories of family, struggle, survival, and triumph. We urge the prompt adoption of legislation at the Federal and State level that would limit how prosecutors can use creative and artistic expression as evidence against defendants in criminal trials.”
New York has partly restricted the use of lyrics in court, but the rest of the country may still use lyrics against artists, a contentious strategy that activists throughout the country are seeking to curtail with a petition now in the works.
What’s Next For Young Thug
Authorities accused Young Thug of hiring a car that was used to carry out a 2015 drive-by shooting that killed 26-year-old Donovan Thomas. He was also charged with one count of attempted murder and one count of engaging in criminal street gang activities.
The rapper was arrested as part of a grand jury RICO indictment that includes 28 members and affiliates of his label, Young Slime Life. Young Thug is considered the case’s kingpin, with Gunna, Yak Gotti, PeeWee Roscoe, and Young Thug’s sibling Unfoonk all facing charges.
On May 11, he was charged with seven more offenses, including drug possession and illegal guns, premised on materials discovered at his house after his initial arrest, prompting a court to refuse him bond based on the second wave of accusations made after the indictment.
Following the refusal of bail, the rapper is anticipated to be held in custody until at least his next court hearing.