Jay-Z condemned a Philadelphia court’s decision to imprison Meek Mill on a probation violation, as well as criticized the U.S. court system in general, during an impassioned speech at the rapper’s Dallas concert Tuesday.
“I gotta say something about a young man named Meek Mill. He caught a charge, he was about 19, he’s 30 now, he’s been on probation 11 years. Fucking 11 years,” Jay-Z told the audience. “Now he got to do two to four years [for a probation violation] because he got arrested being on a bike popping a fucking wheelie.”
Jay-Z, who has previously fought against the rigged bail problem and the exploitative bail bond industry, then blasted the court system that allows for a person to be punished decades after committing a crime as a teenager. The rapper also stressed that to force about changing the system, it must be recognized as a “human issue.”
“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.”
After Meek Mill was sentenced to up to four years in state prison for violating the terms of his probation, Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation manages the Philadelphia rapper, said in a statement, “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.”
Watch a portion of Jay-Z’s Dallas speech below:
“Black people in particular, we gotta get our shit together. You’re not second-class to anybody” PREACH! – JAY-Z addresses Meek Mill’s prison sentence [again] during the Dallas stop of his #444Tour pic.twitter.com/GEzuY11TpW
— JAY-Z Daily (@JAY_Z_Daily) November 8, 2017