A British teenager was punished by a court after she posted allegedly racist lyrics from rapper Snap Dogg that said “kill a snitch n—a, rob a rich n—a.”
Chelsea Russell, a 19-year-old in Liverpool, argued that the words from the song “I’m Trippin” were not offensive, and that she had posted them in memory of a 13-year-old boy who was killed in a car crash last summer.
But the lyrics on Russell’s Instagram biography, which any other user can see, were reported to police last year and transferred to a unit for hate crimes over the words’ alleged racism, according to the Liverpool Echo.
The teen was found guilty of “grossly offensive message by means of a public electronic communications network” given a curfew order limiting her movements from 8pm to 8am, as well as an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor her.
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British law’s “grossly offensive message” law is used for a variety of obscene and threatening speech, including that directed at minority groups.
Russell’s defense had said that n—a is repeatedly used by rap artists such as Jay-Z and Kanye West including at large public festivals where it is heard by thousands of people.
Guidelines from the BBC in 2015 say that n—a is “a reclaimed word commonly used by black hip hop / RnB / rap artists. The use of racist words in this type of music is not considered derogatory or offensive by the artists as they have been part of the ‘make u’ of this music from the beginning.”
“Initially, the words were used to vent about racism, relationships and the police, but are now part of everyday speech and conversation. But it should be remembered that others can be offended by use in this way and outside these contexts the term should be used with care.”
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Snap Dogg is an American rapper from Detroit, and is black. British reports did not say what Russell’s racial makeup is.
She was also ordered to pay 500 pounds ($700), and another 85 pound charge.
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