Rappers JAY-Z and Meek Mill are launching a criminal justice reform organization.
The hitmakers have teamed up with Michael Rubin, the co-owner of basketball team the Philadelphia 76ers, and others to create Reform Alliance, an organization which will work to make changes in the criminal justice system. CNN news host Van Jones will serve as chief executive officer and Mill, real name Robert Williams, and Rubin will be co-chairs.
The foundation for the organization was laid after Mill was sent back to prison for five months last year (18). He was released in April after lawmakers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania overturned a judge's decision to keep him locked up for violating his probation, linked to a 2008 drug and gun bust..
"Creating the Reform Alliance is one of the most important things I've ever done in my life," the Dreams and Nightmares hitmaker says. "If you thought my case was unfair, there are millions of others dealing with worse situations and caught up in the system without committing crimes. With this alliance, we want to change outdated laws, give people hope, and reform a system that's stacked against us."
JAY-Z felt compelled to get involved with criminal justice reform and launch the foundation because of what he saw growing up in Brooklyn, New York.
"I'm from Marcy Projects, I'm from Brooklyn, and this has been a part of my life," the 99 Problems hitmaker added at news conference at John Jay College in Manhattan on Wednesday (23Jan19). "I grew up with this issue. If someone commits a crime, they should go to jail, but these things are disproportionate and the whole world knows it. It's a humane issue."
"We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go from powerlessness and hopelessness to real power," Jones added. "That's what's available here today. We're going to fight different."