by Tiye Bradley
Last Monday, a Philadelphia judge sentenced rapper Meek Mill to two to four years in a state prison for violating probation.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Robert Williams, better known by his stage name Meek Mill, has been on parole since 2009 for a nearly decade old drug distribution and gun possession charge. Mill was originally given five years of parole for the 2008 gun and drug charges and has violated his probation in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
Mill was arrested in March and charged with assault for a fight at the St. Louis Airport. He was later arrested in August and charged with reckless endangerment for illegally riding his dirt bike in New York. Both charges were dismissed under a plea agreement requiring the Philadelphia native to complete community service. However, Judge Genece E. Brinkley, who has overseen the case from the start, ruled these charges violated Mill’s parole and the rapper was immediately taken into custody.
Brinkley told Mill “I gave you break after break, and you basically just thumbed your nose at this court.” Her sentencing was delivered shortly after a prosecutor recommended that Mill not be imprisoned for recent infractions. He asserted that the rapper has been clean since January and has grown since his original crime.
Celebrities and Mill’s fans have taken to social media to express their outrage over the outcome of the hearing. Kevin Hart, Lala Anthony, James Harden and other notable celebrities took to instagram to bring attention to Mill’s perceived injustice. The celebrities have assisted in getting over 330,000 peo0ple to sign a petition to review Mill’s sentence.
Even Colin Kaepernick, has taken a stand in favor of the Philadelphia rapper on twitter
Rapper Jay Z made a statement showing his support of Meek Mill while criticizing the sentence issued by Judge Genece E. Brinkley. “The sentence handed down by the Judge – against the recommendation of the Assistant District Attorney and Probation Officer – is unjust and heavy handed. We will always stand by and support Meek Mill, both as he attempts to right this wrongful sentence and then in returning to his musical career.”
Jay Z, whose Roc Nation manages Mill, went on to further advocate for Mill while criticizing the U.S. court system at a concert in Dallas for his tour entitled 4:44.
“This 4:44 album is all about us moving forward, moving past things, and in order for us to move past all the shit that we’re going through we gotta address it. Everyone has to be just as outraged, you can’t look at it as a black or white issue, you have to look at it as a human issue,” Jay-Z said.
“Black people in particular, we gotta get our shit together. You’re not second-class to anybody. We equal to everybody. We deserve everything everyone else gets. Stop selling yourself short.”
The rapper brings forth a crucial issue. Mill has received a harsher sentence than Brock Turner, who was found guilty of felony sexual assault in 2016. Turner, a white man, was sentenced to six months in prison and was released after being jailed for 3 months.
Recent history has shown that men of color have often been handed harsher prison sentences than white men. This creates biases within the judicial system and has a caused a high rate of incarceration among black men. This has detrimentally impacted the black community by leaving many children fatherless and causing strife in African-American households.