A Paradigm Shift in the Music Industry
We find ourselves at a crucial moment in our culture, as we confront the issue of sexual misconduct head-on. This reckoning has been made possible by the courage of victims who have come forward, disregarding the stigma, confronting their trauma, and braving the potential for backlash. Within the Nashville music scene, individuals like Austin Rick, Katie Armiger, and Kesha have taken a stand against abuse, with one person leading the charge: attorney Alex Little.
Transforming the Legal Landscape
“The legal profession in Nashville has predominantly focused on labels, managers, and star entertainers,” explains Little, as we sit comfortably at a coffee table in his office. “However, there hasn’t been much room for those who feel wronged by others in the industry. We strive to change that perception by representing not only the underdogs or those without a voice but also global superstars like Kesha. Regardless of the scenario, the power imbalance between Kesha and Dr. Luke is alarming.”
A Calling for Justice
Little, inspired by his parents’ commitment to making a positive difference, initially set his sights on global politics. Shortly after graduating college in the late ’90s, he joined President Carter’s team on a trip to Kenya, where they negotiated peace in Sudan. Later, as a clerk at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, he witnessed the tenacious work of trial lawyer Christine Chung, sparking his desire to argue cases in court. In 2013, Little left his position as an assistant to the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee to join Bone McAllester Norton, where he was soon assigned to the team representing the victim in the Vanderbilt rape case.
A Focus on Victims
“Our work primarily revolves around sexual abuse and sexual harassment cases,” Little reveals. “Now that more people are speaking out and reporting such incidents, the question arises: ‘How can we bring about meaningful change for the individuals involved?'”
One of Little’s strategies involves shedding light on legal loopholes that fail to prevent or address misconduct. In a Rolling Stone Country interview, he highlighted the Armiger case, emphasizing that Tennessee law does not afford the same protections to independent contractors (such as most entertainers in relation to record labels) as it does to employees. A bill has since been introduced in the state legislature to address this discrepancy. As the number of court cases exposing abuse continues to rise, the veil of secrecy surrounding these incidents becomes thinner, providing an environment less conducive to hiding such misconduct. Little remains vigilant in his pursuit of further legal changes to curtail opportunities for abuse.
Seeking Justice for Forgotten Crimes
Little’s commitment to justice extends beyond his work with victims of sexual abuse. He also chairs a special joint committee established by the state House and Senate, focused on investigating cold cases from the civil rights era. Although many of the perpetrators responsible for lynchings, arson, and bombings are deceased, acknowledging these crimes and the insufficient investigations conducted brings about a significant impact.
“We brought witnesses before this joint committee, and they bravely shared harrowing stories about these dreadful incidents,” says Little. “This experience reinforced the same sentiments I’ve encountered in my work with other victims—the importance of being heard and the power of speaking one’s truth. However, there is a missing piece: accountability. In the context of historical crimes, what does responsibility truly entail? I believe it starts with acknowledging that our state made mistakes.”
Attorney Alex Little embodies the essence of justice and compassion. Through his unwavering dedication, he strives to empower victims and transform the music industry into a safer and more equitable space.
For more information about Alex Little and his groundbreaking work, visit Garrity Traina.