Seven inmates at a prison in South Carolina have been slammed with a combined total of nearly two decades in solitary confinement after their prison-filmed music video went viral. Dave Maass, an investigative researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, obtained public records revealing the details surrounding the investigation into the creation of the video.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections, who launched the investigation last year, got involved when the video gained some serious traction on WorldstarHipHop, according to BuzzFeed. Records reveal that five of the involved inmates received 180 days of "disciplinary detention," while the others received 270 and 360 days, respectively, for "creating or assisting" with a social media site.
The records also mention WorldstarHipHop explicitly, noting that video from the website "was used as evidence." The video has also become a symbol for a much larger problem in prisons all across South Carolina (and elsewhere): seemingly harsh punishment for a simple act of creativity. "When the video went viral the first time, viewers caught a fleeting glimpse of the creative energy that exists behind bars," Maass told BuzzFeed. "Now that we know how dearly each inmate paid for their participation, the video takes on all new significance. People in this country are still sacrificing their freedom and well-being for expression."
As for the song itself, it's actually worth the hype. Four fire emoji out of a possible five.