ROCK HILL, S.C. - The John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy and the Mass Communication Department hosts political communication scholar Lakeyta Bonnette to speak on why hip-hop artists do not face legal charges for their explicit lyrics.
Students can find out how the First Amendment protects artistic expression in music on March 2 at 7 p.m. in Plowden Auditorium in the Withers/W.T.S. Building. This upcoming cultural event, “Just Watch What You Say: Freedom of Expression and Hip Hop Music,” is a free cultural event open to students and the community.
Students are curious as to what protects their favorite artists and offensive lyrics from censorship. “I’ve always wondered why the artists I listen to can put whatever they want into their lyrics and not get in trouble for it, ” said Noel Rizzuti, junior integrated marketing communications major.
Bonnette, who graduated from Winthrop in 2004, clarifies how artists use their First Amendment rights to express who they are through their music, lyrics and performances. Her multimedia research presentation will examine the social and cultural meaning behind specific songs and include clips of prominent hip hop artists.
The event is brought to Winthrop through the Liberty Tree Initiative Grant that focuses on raising awareness of the five freedoms enshrined under the First Amendment.
Last year was Winthrop’s first year to receive the grant, and the university is one of two schools nationwide to receive another $5,000 grant to make the public more aware about the role freedom of speech, press, assembly, petition and religion play in society. Under a national program called 1 for All, the Liberty Tree Initiative works with college campuses to fund and organize First Amendment-related educational events.