On Choosing Our Battles: Goodbye, Meek Mill, Don't Drop The Soap.
Now, listen, I said I don't want to talk about celebrities and their nonsense. But here we are again because, y'all love to make no sense at all on the interwebs. Before we begin, let me say, I am completely aware of the disproportionate numbers of Black and Brown men incarcerated in this country. I understand how systematic racism works and believe that in many cases, it is our job as a community to band together and support those men who are targeted. We move forward as a people when we do more than complain about the issues but get out and take action to fix them (shout out to everyone who voted in their local elections yesterday!! big tings are gwan and political power is shifting back to the people who need it the most.) BUT...Meek Mill doesn't need our support.
I repeat: LOUD and wrong Rihmeek Williams doesn't need our support.
Listen here, Meek Mill has taken some very public L's. After being audibly strangled by Drake, dumped by Nicki Minaj (who is now dating Nas...whew, chile.) and caps lock tweeting himself into oblivion---Philly's very own still managed to have a legion of fans who don't mind him using a bullhorn to record in the studio. After his 2008 drug and gun case, one would think that he would assert better judgement having regained his freedom and maintained his musical success. In the words of the great philosopher Tee Grizzley, "i'm on parole in two states, I can't move wrong. the feds trying to build a case, i can't move wrong"---agreed. But instead, Meek has turned his dreams into nightmares by violating probation and now being sentenced to 2-4 years in prison much to the chagrin of his peers and fans alike. *eye roll*. To add ignorance to foolishness, the conversation has now become a call-to-arms for our community to demand he gets less jail time.
Look, we have bigger issues on our hands than Yelly D's self-inflicted issues with the law. And the fact that you all have the unmitigated gall to get on Al Gore's internet and demand that we, especially Black women, rally our efforts to help a man who's had more chances to get his ish together than most is just...dumb. Meek himself has regularly spoken out about the miscarriage of justice that abounds in cities like his hometown of Philadelphia and yet he still decided to push his luck...now EYE have to use my daytime minutes to argue on his behalf? Basura. You want to rally behind someone? Liberation Library collects books for incarcerated youth to help them continue to use their imaginations and encourage self-determination. Joshua Williams is serving the longest prison sentence for his involvement in the Ferguson rebellion, you can write letters to him to keep his head up or go a step further and put a little something on his books for being brave enough to protest racism head-on with the world watching (Joshua Williams #1292002. Eastern Reception Diagnostic & Correctional Center. 2727 Highway K. Bonne Terre, Missouri 63628). You can volunteer to help with programs like Schools Not Prisons. Or simply get busy in your community educating our boys/girls/men/women about the criminal justice system and helping those who've made mistakes avoid going back to prison for silly reasons. Hell, Gucci Mane has a book you can buy---I'm sure he discusses his ability to get out of prison and not violate his probation in it---send Meek a copy. All of these things and more are a better usage of our time than making #FreeMeek tees and lamenting his hardships. See, my problem with Meek Mill is not his "image" or his profession, my problem is that he got what far too many Black men never get from our criminal justice system---a second chance---and he squandered it. And now we are supposed to use him as the poster child for racial inequality? It's a hard pass for me. If anyone owes anything to another in this situation, it's Meek who owes US not vice versa. Yelly Riley is undoubtedly some young man's hero...whether he wants to be or not...and the only thing he should be doing is making it very clear that the decisions we make directly affect our lives; for better or for worse. Not some judge having it "out" for him. You know how you keep from having to deal with Judge More-Than-Likley-A-Racist, Meek? By. Not. Violating. Your. Probation.
I'm happy for any Black man who makes it out and puts food on his family's table but I am not going to pacify them to the point of absolving them of taking responsibility for their actions.
The only way for US to get free is to hold ourselves ACCOUNTABLE for what comes next. No, we are not responsible for sewing deep-rooted racist laws into the framework of our country's justice system but we ARE responsible for knowing that the game is set up for us to lose; therefore, we must refuse to fall for the traps. We can pray for Meek. Write to Meek. Play his songs on Spotify all day to make sure he continues to get his coins. Sure. Do whatever your heart tells you. But we DO NOT have to pretend that Meek played no part in getting himself into this trouble in the first place. We're talking about a full grown man here. A man who has the wherewithal to build a career for himself can also keep himself outside of those concrete walls. And if he doesn't, he can sit down, do his bid and not expect US to rally behind his bad decisions.
And don't get me started on Tyrese...