Gunna has issued a statement about his current incarceration on racketeering charges, stating that he is “being falsely accused and will never stop fighting” to clear his name.
After being named in a 28-person grand jury indictment that also included Young Thug earlier this month, the rapper (real name Sergio Kitchens) was taken into custody on May 11 and charged with conspiracy to violate the state of Georgia’s RICO Act.
The indictment centres around the YSL record label and collective, allegedly formed by Thug (real name Jeffery Lamar Williams) in 2012, which authorities claim is a “criminal street gang”. Part of the indictment is based around Williams, Kitchens and other YSL associates’ lyrics and social media posts allegedly being “acts in furtherance of the conspiracy”.
Gunna has been denied bond, with his trial scheduled to begin on January 9, 2023. He has pleaded not guilty.
In a new statement shared on Tuesday (June 14) – the same day as the rapper’s 29th birthday – Gunna said: “As a Black Man in America, it seems as though my art is only acceptable when I’m a source of entertainment for the masses.”
You can check out the full statement below:
2022 has been one of the best years of my life, despite this difficult situation.
This year I had the whole world pushing P.
Growing up from where I come from in a marginalized neighborhood, I never dreamt my art would change my life and the lives of my loved ones. My entire life, I’ve seen Black Men, Black Women and Black Children consistently attacked, hated, murdered, berated, belittled, silenced, judged, used and held captive.
I used my art form, my gift from God, to change my circumstance. I worked, I honed my craft, I worked, I empowered Black Women in my industry, I worked, I lived in the recording studio, I worked, I lived on the road, I worked. I worked every day to show God how grateful I am for my gift, for my art, for my life and to be able to provide for my loved ones.
For now, I don’t have my freedom. But I am innocent. I am being falsely accused and will never stop fighting to clear my name!
The picture that is being painted of me is ugly and untrue. My fans know I love to celebrate life, I love my family, I love travel, I love music, I love my fans. I have all faith that God will grant me justice for the purity in my heart and the innocence of my actions.
As a Black Man in America, it seems as though my art is only acceptable when I’m a source of entertainment for the masses. My art is not allowed to stand alone as entertainment, I’m not allowed that freedom as a Black Man in America. It is a sad reality that slavery is still alive in America today and still affecting my people. In 12 states more than half of the prison population is Black, one of those states is Georgia.
Nothing will stop me from chasing my dreams, I won’t stop being a good person, even if some unnamed and unknown accusers want the world to see me as a bad person. When I was free, I tried to be good and kind to the community around me and, when I am released, I will do the same thing all over again.
We still pushing P: Power, Prayer, Progress, Passion, Productivity, Praise, Precision, Peace, Prosperity, Patience, Pride and Persistence.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Gunna’s defense lawyers Donald F. Samuel, John A. Garland and Kristen W. Novay said: “Mr. Sergio Kitchens, known as Gunna, is innocent. The indictment falsely portrays his music as part of criminal conspiracy.
“Mr. Kitchens, an entertainer and philanthropist, created the first ever local free in-school grocery and clothing store feeding over 400 children weekly, and nationally sponsored giveaways for victims of disasters and food shortages.”
They added: “Mr. Kitchens has been an advocate for his community, and it is our privilege to advocate for him.”