Inequality and corruption have long been well-known issues when speaking about the American justice system. In an effort to reduce the astronomically high unfair incarceration rate of African Americans in the U.S. some of the biggest music moguls in hip-hop have joined forces to make a difference. Jay Z & Meek Mill started the Reform Alliance recently which aims to help unprivileged people who may have been convicted of a false or unfair crime. Legendary rapper Common has also joined in the fight to stop the unfair incarceration of minority individuals by partnering with Global Citizen.
Making a Difference
Jay -Z & Meek Mill are joined by some powerhouse individuals outside of the entertainment industry in their efforts to end unfair justice practices including the co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers Michael Rubin. Michael Rubin became involved with the Reform Alliance after witnessing Meek Mill’s 2017 sentencing for a probation violation which was caused by him doing wheelies on a dirt bike. The blatant unfair treatment of the rapper prompted the NBA owner to leap into action by using his influence to help make a positive change.
The sole mission of Jay-Z and Meek Mill’s Reform Alliance program is to change “illogical laws that make no sense.” Meek Mill and Jay-Z are also joined by Clara Wu Tsai, Daniel Loeb, Michael Novogratz, and more. Meek Mill has stated previously that his ultimate mission with the Reform Alliance is to “to speak for the people who don’t have a voice.”
The group has pledged $50 million to launch the organization and hired Van Jones, a CNN political commentator, as CEO.
Jay-Z has a pretty lengthy history of being involved with politics and the justice system including the 2017 film ‘Time: The Kalief Browder Story’ which was based on the true events of the detention of an innocent man who was subjected to cruel punishment by the legal system, resulting in him committing suicide due to the mental effects of the tragic ordeal. Jay-Z was an executive producer on the film and has since gone on to become involved with various education and justice reform initiatives targeted at underprivileged inner-city youth.
Equality For Everyone
Common, an influential Oscar and Grammy-winning hip-hop star, has a history of inserting political commentary into his music. Recently, he announced that he is now championing a fight to end cash bail an Ambassador for Global Citizen which is a social initiative aimed at bringing together people who want to find solutions to the world’s biggest problems. Common has spent years calling for facial justice and criminal justice reform, including a fight to end the practice of sentencing California juveniles to life without parole. “I want to bring a practical change in people’s lives. I want to walk down Atlantic Avenue and see someone’s life change because of Global Citizen and the work I’m doing. I want to help the people who are oppressed because of their skin, beliefs, and economics. I’m always in a fight for that, ” Common told Billboard in an interview.
This isn’t the first time Common has fought to end cash bail. Last year, he joined the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization’s Mass Bail Out in New York City, with Global Citizen. The effort was able to get 105 people freed from jails like the infamous Rikers Island in New York City. Even though Common is not directly working with Jay-Z & Meek Mill on their Reform Alliance efforts, he is still championing their same message for equality and fairness.
Fellow rapper turned activist, Common was also moved by Jay-Z’s fight for Browder. “The Kalief Browder Story was something that really struck my heart, and helped me realize how lopsided bail was,” Common told Billboard. “That’s the loss of a life. This is impacting families. If we keep these people down, there’s always going to be an amount of unrest. We owe it to each other.”
What To Expect Next
Jay-Z and Meek Mill are currently working to help thousands of wrongfully convicted individuals regain their freedom and independence. The two regularly host live speaking events giving updates about the progress and impact that the Reform Alliance has made in addition to what steps they plan to take next. The main goal of the Reform Alliance is to reduce the number of people that are subject to unfair sentencing due to the current probation and parole laws. The two rap moguls are working every day to make a visible impact in the communities that they love and cherish the most.