Dale Edwin Murray for NPR
Before this calendar year, Yo Gotti’s DMs have been blowing up: video clip soon after video clip from inside a large jail advanced just throughout the point out line from where the Memphis rapper grew up. The gentlemen incarcerated at Mississippi Condition Penitentiary, also known as Parchman, were at a breaking level, capturing squalid conditions on contraband cell telephones and uploading them to social media. Gotti was appalled by what he observed: black mold crawling up the partitions, human waste in the corners of cells that hadn’t been unlocked in days, males wrapped in blankets to stave off the cold.
The rapper felt he had to do a thing, so he enlisted the aid of his management, Jay-Z’s Roc Country, and its philanthropic arm, Workforce Roc. Together with jail reform heavyweights like political commentator Van Jones, Group Roc made the decision to sue Mississippi’s department of corrections for human rights abuses, which they argued violated the constitutional prohibition versus cruel and strange punishment. This summer season, the lawful work took on even more injustices at Parchman, as COVID-19 distribute by means of the prison with small protection or care given to inmates.
In this episode, we glimpse at the heritage guiding the Parchman match and look at the broader landscape of prison reform in hip-hop. From Meek Mill’s advocacy perform to Kanye West lobbying President Trump, Staff Roc’s work isn’t really the 1st time rappers have taken concrete ways to tackle prison reform. But critics argue that this cult of celebrity may really harm the motion to undo the jail industrial advanced.
We spherical out our finale with a discussion in between Chicago rapper Noname and abolitionist Mariame Kaba about the potentials of abolishing prisons for superior. Is reform a indicates to that end, or a hindrance? And, as Toni Cade Bambara says, is it the artist’s task to make revolution irresistible?