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Home Entertainment Hall of Fame Writer Jay-Z Calls for Criminal Justice Reform

Hall of Fame Writer Jay-Z Calls for Criminal Justice Reform

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induction speech for Jay Z to enter the Songwriters Hall of Fame. On November 17, 2017,  the legendary rapper and music mogul further solidified the honor by penning an editorial in the New York Times titled: “Jay Z: The Criminal Justice System Stalks Black People Like Meek Mill.” After rapper Meek Mill was sentenced to 2-4 years in prison due to a probation violation, from a conviction over a decade ago, Jay Z  writes: “probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime” (New York Times). With Jay-Z, whose real name is Sean Carter, serious about backing criminal reform, we will hopefully begin to see less Black men imprisoned for unjust and discriminatory judgements. Also, keep in mind the thousands of dollars Philadelphia and most major city tax payers spend on each inmate in their correctional facilities. There is no equation that fairly equates to Meek Mill going to jail a second time for the initial crime longer than he was imprisoned the first time. Matt Rourke/AP  A few months removed from his latest and most controversial album, 4:44, Carter has recently established himself as an unashamed Black voice for change. “The Story of OJ,” Jay’s lead single is a brash but melodic rebuke to racism and the mistreatment of Blacks in America. Also, let’s not forget Jay’s refusal to perform at the 2018 NFL Super Bowl because of the league’s reaction to QB Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest. And now that TiDal, Carter’s music streaming company and Apple Music’s biggest competitor, is a major outlet, the stage is set for him to continue to upset the normal pantheon of White supremacy worldwide. Carter continues, “the specifics of Meek’s case inspired me to write this. But it’s time we highlight the random ways people trapped in the criminal justice system are punished every day.”  It’s clear that many Black Americans are victims of its criminal justice system; Meek Mill is fortunate enough to be a millionaire with millionaire friends such as Jay Z. Do not get me wrong, if you break the law there must be consequences but, at the same time, how can we expect anybody to ascend from a troubled past if they are constantly being judged and monitored by the same people who sentenced them to prison in the first place? Something must be done, and after Jay’s article I think the hip hop industry can be the force that reforms a justice system that actually serves justice for all. We simply can’t and won’t accept how so many Black men go to prison relative to other races in America. If Jay Z can keep the conversation going surrounding criminal justice reform, in the name of Meek, we can see monumental changes in criminal justice reform & Black America. Jay Z would not be the first MC who has challenged the courts to change laws. Hip Hop O.G. Uncle Luke is the reason why we have parental advisory labels on explicit music projects due to his iconic fight against American music censorship. In a way, today’s rappers are the prophets of our community. Even in the middle of a generational battle between golden era hip hop and mumble rap. No matter if your favorite rapper is Kendrick Lamar or Lil Uzi Vert, rappers are telling the world what is happening in the black community. That being said, when Jay Z speaks, the world listens. With around 30 million albums sold, Jay Z is a proven entrepreneur, artist, songwriter; and after this New York Times article, we need to respect Jay Z’s pen as an author and maybe even politician. Jay Does it For The Culture. And he has definitely accrued the hustle, track record and wealth to validate and empower his recent social activism and fearless stances. What do you think, is Jay Z just speaking his mind or are we really on the cusp of a criminal justice reform led by the powers of hip hop?]]>

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