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Murderer or Musician?

March 5, 2017

 

In November 2014, a local San Diego man named Brandon Duncan (also known as Tiny Doo) was incarcerated on the basis that his rap music promotes gang violence in San Diego. According to ABC and the video by CNN News, he was prosecuted for profiting in relation to a gang conspiracy involving nine shootings since April, 2013. In 2000, California voters approved a statute that prosecutes gang members who benefit from other gang members' crimes, because his album "...willfully promote, further, assist and benefit from ... criminal conduct by members of that gang." This particular case has been controversial, because Duncan was not actually affiliated with the shootings that began in April 2013. In response, Duncan poses the question, "How can you promote crimes you don't know about?" Because Duncan is a documented gang member (even though he no longer belongs to a gang), he was criminalized for the lyrics he presented in his music. In fact, rap music was his way out of gang life and it is a form of entertainment that allows him to provide for his family. Considering the history and reality of anti-blackness in America, a white man who is in a similar stance as Duncan is much less likely to be charged or deemed a threat. Fortunately, Brandon Duncan was released from his charge and is now an activist in the community.

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