Pusha T tells the story of Norman Brown, a former inmate who spent much of his adult life incarcerated due to mandatory minimum laws, in a new PSA advocating for prison reform.
Brown was found guilty on six counts of crack cocaine distribution, a non-violent offense, but due to prior offenses and sentencing guidelines was given life without parole. At the time, he was 22.
Speaking directly to the camera, Pusha reads Brown’s words, which document how he ended up selling narcotics and how he found his calling in prison as a teacher – following in the footsteps of his mother.
“In 2010, I filed for clemency, but I’d lost hope in the system,” Pusha reads. “I’d been in for fifteen years and several motions had been denied. While in prison, my mother, my father, my brother and my grandmother all died. My daughter was also born. In many ways, we grew up together.”
Five years later, however, Brown was given a second chance when Barack Obama commuted his sentence. Amidst reacclimating himself to the modern world, Brown helps other inmates transition to life outside of prison and counsels juveniles. “When you let us rot away, society loses out on the gifts we have to give to the community and the world,” Pusha reads in closing.
Pusha T spent much of 2016 involved in various political causes. He was one of several artist to meet with President Obama to discuss the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative, and during the election he stumped for Hillary Clinton. Pusha also spoke about prison reform during an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in October and appeared in a PSA supporting marijuana legalization in California.