Lil Baby, an Atlanta rapper that has been scorching the charts with solo and collaborative hits, was detained by police in Paris on Thursday, July 8th. The rapper, who is often seen on social media with blunt wraps and marijuana, may have been targeted by police. Basketball superstar James Harden, of the Brooklyn Nets, was with Lil Baby in Paris for Fashion Week.
Recent developments show that Lil Baby was released on July 9th with a fine for having cannabis in his car, while Harden was frisked but was not detained. The arrest on Thursday, taking place on one of the French capital’s most upscale avenues during Paris Fashion Week, gave a scare to fans of the high profile American celebrities.
It also sparked questions on racial profiling in France. However, after his release, Lil Baby posted on social media, “I’m Good,” and is heading back to the states. Rappers and marijuana have a tight connection, both in business and personal recreational use.
Plainclothes police stopped the two celebrities and Lil Baby’s bodyguard due to a strong smell of marijuana coming from their car, according to a French police official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Uniformed officers arrived and proceeded to search the vehicle, finding 32 grams of cannabis inside. Lil Baby and his bodyguard were then placed in Parisian custody under the suspicion of drug trafficking, but were released with fines. A student who witnessed the altercation said the area is normally a “quiet” avenue lined with many luxury boutiques.
Lawyer Slim Ben Achour cited data showing that Caucasians in France are less likely to get stopped and frisked or fined for an offense concerning cannabis. The research also revealed that police are more inclined to carry out identity checks on Black or Arab men in housing projects, or in areas where the assumption is that they “don’t belong.” Cannabis reform in America is working to change the narrative around laws and communities that have been historically target by law enforcement. Maybe France should do the same.