Meek Mill and Jay-Z have partnered with various industry leaders to launch REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform organization. Their hope is to change the system that currently controls the lives of 6.6 million human beings.
In the United States, incarceration is synonymous with slavery. For 2.2 million people, their lives consist of forced labor in an abusive system of racial control. 4.4 million parolees experience partial freedom, their lives heavily monitored even in their own homes. Caught in a cycle of physical abuse and psychological tyranny, many prisoners succumb to the leading cause of death in prisons, suicide. Meek Mill became a victim of the system at the age of 18. Following his release from prison on April 24th, 2018, Meek made a vow to shine a light on the atrocities of the criminal justice system.
Bringing moguls from the business, music, and sports worlds together, REFORM’s goal is to “dramatically reduce the number of people who are needlessly trapped in the system.” Focusing first on “disabling the revolving door of probation and parole”, REFORM started with fighting Meek Mill’s re-imprisonment.
In November 2017, Meek was sentenced to two-to-four years for a probation violation. His unjust sentencing sparked the #FreeMeek movement which was immediately supported by Jay-Z. Gaining national attention because of the status of the incarcerated, discussion surrounding the need for prison reform spread like wildfire. Many hada brief knowledge of the mistreatment of prisoners in the American justice system, but Ava Duvernay’s 13th further educated viewers on their plight.
Citing the creation of REFORM as “one of the most important things” he has ever done in his life, Meek has brought together an elite team. The current board of directors is comprised of:
- Michael Rubin, CEO of Kynetic, co-owner of Philadelphia 76ers, and Fanatics executive chairman
- Robert Kraft, Owner of the New England Patriots and Kraft Group CEO
- Robert Smith, Founder of Vista Equity Partners
- Daniel Loeb, Founder of Third Point LLC
- Michael Novogratz, Founder of Galaxy Digital
- Clara Wu Tsai, Co-owner of Brooklyn Nets, Advisor for Taobao
Together, they have committed to changing probation and parole policies. In a statement, Meek said,:
“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 With this alliance, we want to change outdated laws, give people hope and reform a system that’s stacked against us.”
Collectively pledging $50 million to the cause, the founding partners are united in their mission to #FightDifferent.
Summer Walker & Social Anxiety
Is T.I. Ok?
Summer Walker Says We Don’t Deserve Her…And She’s Right
Summer Walker’s recent Instagram post aims to remind us all to step away from the superficiality of social media and remember we’re only human.
In an age where people exploit “Love, Light, and Positivity” through discussions involving mental health and support, toxicity toward those affected has never seemed more prevalent. Conversations regarding self-care, emotional maturity, and navigating anxiety or depression seem to flood social media in ways that both normalize and trivialize the conditions. While the public perception of mental health is changing for the better, it seems our behavior does not match.
Social media has allowed us to become more accessible to one another but over time we forget there’s a living, breathing, feeling entity on the other end. We become crass, callous, and act without regard for another individual. In that ignorance, we forget that access to each other is a privilege and not a right. For someone like Summer Walker, who has reached their limit with public criticism, denying others access is no massive effort.
“Y’all Can Have The Music & Imma Just Head Out”
Summer Walker has always been candid about mental health. During her concerts, she often pauses to address her social anxiety while encouraging others to push toward their goals. Although she’s continuing to navigate the music industry and face her challenges head on, she recently made the decision that her first tour will be her last – partly due to social media criticism. Saying, “I’ve decided y’all don’t deserve me” Walker intends to distance herself from the public’s gaze upon the conclusion of her tour.
Following immense criticism for her Tiny Desk performance and hygiene practices, Summer penned a caption on Instagram in an effort to remind people she’s “just a regular person.” Believing people’s values are skewed, Summer said public expectations of her are too high and she has no desire to be in constant competition with the world. “Everyday/everything isn’t a Miss America bad b*tch contest and I don’t feel the need to put others down to stay relevant.” Adding that people are really disconnected, she said we’re hiding behind apps, filters, clothes, and other things that distract us from who we truly are. Imploring others to apply equal effort in enhancing their spiritual appearance along with their physical, Summer exposed the lack of self-acceptance and performative empathy that has affected so many.
Girls Need Love
It’s great to place so much emphasis on the importance of mental health care and showing up for your “strong friend”. But it isn’t truly being applied when your solidarity is so visible in theory but not in practice. People who experience social anxiety are not exempt from what causes it through the use of social media. For creatives, the irony of their work providing so much happiness while they often struggle with mental health issues is not lost. While Summer’s fans are hoping she does not refrain from producing music in the future, she’s made it pretty clear she has no obligation to shrink her emotional boundaries to please anyone besides herself.
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