Recording Industry Calls for Change

Recording Industry Calls for Change

Recording Industry Calls for Change

Rihanna, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, and others sign a letter demanding the repeal of statute 50-A.

Rihanna, Megan Thee Stallion, Lizzo, and others sign a letter demanding the repeal of statute 50-A.

Text: Dante Silva

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) recently penned a letter to New York legislators, namely Governor Andrew Cuomo, addressing a pressing need for police reform. A conglomeration of those in the music industry—from independent songwriters to Rihanna—RIAA is more attuned to working at every stage of the recording process (as opposed to the legislative one).

Yet this particular record is far too familiar, one which resonates throughout every aspect of American society. Police brutality has existed since the advent of policing itself, seemingly inseparable from the concept of law enforcement—especially considering a past (and present) of racist legislation. In this particular moment, one which has come far too late, individuals and communities are attempting to reconcile a newfound (for some) commitment to anti-racism with the harm born of disavowal and silence. 

The recording industry has followed suit, led by major figures calling for change. The likes of Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, and others have been vocal in advocating for New York to repeal statute 50-A, which limits the release of police officers’ disciplinary records to the public. In the letter, accessible here, they “urge members to recognize the moment, take one loud, bold, and meaningful step in addressing this systemic problem, and swiftly repeal 50-A.”

On Tuesday, legislators voted in favor of repealing 50-A, making police records more publicly accessible. The step is certainly one in the right direction, though those in the RIAA know the work is far from over. If anything, the repeal is a briefly upbeat interlude in a more harrowing track. 

In response to recent instances of state-sanctioned violence, Bad Gal Riri herself asks “Is this that f*cking normal???” As she notes, such violence has been normalized and ingrained within society on every level. It shouldn’t be. Everyone, from those in the recording industry to all non-Black readers, has work to do. 

Further progress will come not only in the form of legislation, but in the complete upheaval of broader systems, along with internalized growth. 

Credits: Image by Mario Sorrenti for i-D

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