Here are 5 artist in Hip-Hop who spent 2019 fighting for justice reform:
In April of this year, rap mogul Meek Mill alongside Jay-Z announced the launch of Reform Alliance, an organization focused on advocating on behalf of individuals serving harsh parole and probation sentences. Meek Mill himself, having witnessed the many ways in which parole and probation sentences can keep one entrapped in the system, was ready to demand stronger prison rehabilitation programs, updated probation policies, and an improved bail system and balanced sentencing structures. Since its launch, Reform has teamed up with many elected officials in Pennsylvania (Meek’s home state), and have been on a tireless journey fighting for Smart Probation & Parole Reform.
The late great prolific rapper, Nipsey Hussle has done more than just build businesses and a co-working space focused on STEM. Months before his passing, he partnered with Californians for Safety and Justice to launch a new campaign entitled “#TimeDone”, striving towards aiding Americans with past criminal convictions. While #TimeDone launched at the end of 2018, CSJ remembered Nipsey this year and his passion for justice by releasing exclusive footage of Nipsey speaking on why this campaign is so important to him. The organization promises to continue to move forward with #TimeDone by advocating for the passing of new laws that would assist California residents living with criminal records.
Never a stranger to activism, “The Corner” rapper Common continued fighting towards reform this year in major ways. While he launched the Hope and Redemption Tour in 2017, Common continued concert visits to correctional facilities throughout California. This tour consisted of meeting with inmates, and focused on encouraging inmates and supporting justice reform advocates. In September of this year, Common was featured on an episode of “Activate: The Global Citizen Movement” focusing on the issue of cash bail. In the episode, the rapper turned activist is shown bailing out a woman in Brooklyn, NY. Most recently, he shared that he “continues to work for criminal justice reform”... mentioning the “Represent Justice” campaign that he has partnered with.
The expeditiously Atlanta native, rapper T.I. has continuously used his voice as he advocates for the unjust treatment of Blacks in America by law enforcement. This year he joined Atlanta’s city jail task force to assist with the way the Atlanta City Detention Center is utilized. Goals included: using the space for wellness, reducing recidivism rates, and supporting justice-involved citizens impacted by mass incarceration. In addition to this, T.I. joined Georgia Church in April to bail out nonviolent offenders. Collaborator Scrapp Deleon joined Tip as they raised close to $120,000 to bail out nonviolent offenders jailed throughout Georgia.
Launching his “Third Strike Coming Home” campaign this year, Pusha tapped living legend Lauryn Hill to introduce this movement with a single entitled “Coming Home”. This movement, inspired by the 3 Strikes Drug Law, is not the rapper’s first time advocating for those affected by the justice system. The G.O.O.D. Music artist shed light this year on the effects incarceration can have not only on a prisoner, but also for their loved ones. The Third Strike Coming Home campaign will raise funds to assist individuals who are serving life sentences receive legal support. It will also seek to assist the incarcerated with post-release reintegration efforts.
As a country we've continuously waited to hear realistic reform plans from presidential candidates each election. The work that these artist have done this year reveals that Hip Hop has grown impatient and has decided to take action. Many of the artist who are actively working towards reform, have had their own experience within the justice system and have witnessed first hand the injustices that exist. They've chosen not to ignore issues such as bail, probation, and recidivism. As we close out this year, may 2020 bring forth even more advocates within the Hip Hop community for justice reform.
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