In a hauntingly illustrated, four-minute video for The New York Times, Jay Z tells the story of the failure of the The War on Drugs. When strict anti-narcotics laws unfairly targeted minorities in the 1980s, he says, “young men like me who hustled became the sole villain, and drug addicts lack moral fortitude”.
White businessmen profit off the decriminalized marijuana trade, while black men with jail records are barred from participating in the industry. “Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?” he asks.
He also blames the sharp rise in the US prison population on mandatory minimum sentences which has “disproportionately come to lock away blacks and Latinos.”
From The New York Times:
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? Ms. Hampton proposed creating an animated video that the D.P.A. would produce about the impact of the drug war in African-American communities.
Watch it below.