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The film asks, “why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?

 In News, Opinion

The New York Times posted a short film narrated by Jay Z (Shawn Carter) featuring the animated artwork of Molly Crabapple.  The film highlights the history of the war on drugs and its disparate impact on the African American community.  In his compelling narration Jay Z challenges viewers to consider the price African Americans have paid in mass incarceration while California’s Proposition 64 will not only legalize adult use of marijuana but will retroactively exonerate those incarcerated who are serving sentences for marijuana offenses.  The film asks, “why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?

As Nevadans consider its own marijuana legalization referendum this November, Amendment 2, this racial justice vision statement holds equal promise.

As Ms. Crabapple’s haunting images flash by, the film takes us from the Nixon administration and the Rockefeller drug laws the draconian 1973 statutes enacted in New York that exploded the state’s prison population and ushered in a period of similar sentencing schemes for other states — through the extraordinary growth in our nation’s prison population to the emerging aboveground marijuana market of today. We learn how African-Americans can make up around 13 percent of the United States population — yet 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations, even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites.

The project came about when, last year, Dream Hampton, the filmmaker and a co-author of Jay Z’s book “Decoded,” approached the Drug Policy Alliance about collaborating with Revolve Impact, the social impact agency she works with. Revolve Impact connects artists and influencers to community organizers, and with marijuana legalization taking hold across the nation — and about to be considered in her own state, California.  Ms. Hampton wanted to tackle the contradiction raised by Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” in 2014: Why were white men poised to get rich doing the very same thing that African-American boys and men had long been going to prison for?

Prop 64 would reduce (and in many cases eliminate) criminal penalties for marijuana offenses, and it’s retroactive — people sitting in prison for low-level marijuana offenses would be released and have their records expunged. In addition, Prop 64 would drive millions of dollars in direct funding and investments to those communities most harmed by the criminal justice system. Best porn site – Watch porn.


Also contributing: Asha Bandele (@ashabandele) is a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance.

Read more here: Jay Z: ‘The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail’


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