Meek Mill and His Supporters Discuss Why His Justice Reform Activism Matters


The rapper and Billboard Impact Award honoree says he is about to unveil one of many "largest foundations for prison justice reform on the planet."

In April, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Meek Mill’s launch on bail from jail, the place he had been serving two to 4 years for parole violations stemming from a decade-old medicine and weapons conviction, the Philadelphia rapper might have completed a victory lap and returned to the recording studio. Instead, he has resolved to show his hard-won struggle for justice into an organized effort to reform what he contends is a significantly flawed prison justice system. With assist from supporters, artists and pals like 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin and the principals of his label, Roc Nation, Mill is within the course of of creating a basis that may work to exonerate wrongly accused inmates and reintegrate them into society.

“It’s going to be an actual landmark in my life,” says Mill, who spoke to Billboard on the eve of receiving its inaugural Impact Award on Sept. 27 for dedicating himself to a problem lengthy in want of reform.

What are your short-term targets?

Helping to vary a few of these probation legal guidelines which are preserving individuals like myself in jail even though no new crimes had been dedicated.

Where do issues stand with the muse?

We’re going to announce it actual quickly. Some massive individuals are attaching themselves. It’s going to be one of many largest foundations for justice reform on the planet.

What's the state of your case at this level?

I’m out on bail for a technical violation of my two- to four-year sentence. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted me my freedom and is letting me struggle from the skin. My case is bizarre as a result of the district lawyer will not be contesting me [requesting] a brand new trial. I don’t even have anyone testifying in opposition to me. The cop that arrested me was principally labeled as corrupt by his personal police pressure.

What did you be taught out of your attorneys' court docket methods?

Joe [Tacopina] taught me that generally, you’ve bought to go to conflict. Brian [McMonagle] taught me to remain down and get what you'll want to get to the place you'll want to go. Both [strategies] had been wanted.

How will your subsequent album mirror what you've been by way of?

I’ma simply ship, give individuals my expertise. People shall be extra in tune as a result of when you didn’t pay full consideration to me earlier than, I might need crossed your path within the media.



‘A Learning Moment’: Why His Activism Matters

Rick Ross: I’m pleased with Meek for turning a unfavorable right into a optimistic. He was unjustly incarcerated however he by no means let the circumstances beat him. Through this expertise, he emerged stronger, as each a person and an artist. He has grow to be the chief I all the time knew he was.

Michael Rubin, co-owner, Philadelphia 76ers: As lengthy as I can keep in mind, I've believed that issues occur for a cause. Although Meek was wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a criminal offense he didn’t commit, and despatched again to jail a number of occasions [despite] by no means committing a brand new crime, I’m grateful for his sacrifice. His story has been a studying second and opened all of our eyes to the necessity for main criminal-justice reform. I thank Meek for serving to me see this travesty, as a result of I might’ve by no means understood the criminal-justice system’s unfair remedy of younger black males earlier than this. We’re very dedicated to creating an enormous distinction with the muse we’ll be asserting later this fall, and we’re trying ahead to impacting thousands and thousands of lives.

Charlamagne Tha God: When you undergo a nasty expertise, it offers you a sworn statement to inform. You use that power to show so individuals don’t make the identical errors you probably did. Meek is doing that, but in addition exposing a corrupt judicial system, and when somebody together with his voice and superstar shines a light-weight on that,
it speaks volumes. He turns into a megaphone for the unheard.

This article initially appeared within the Sept. 29 problem of Billboard.