President Barack Obama calls on artists Nicki Minaj, Pusha T, Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, Common, J. Cole, Alicia Keys and more to discuss the administration’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aims to support programs that keep young people out of the criminal justice system.
“Just leaving the White House…I never got to go on my elementary school field trip there,” Pusha T tweeted Friday. “Thanx for the invite @POTUS”
In February 2014, Obama began the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. Since then, private institutions, foundations, businesses, community groups and more have contributed over $500 million in grants and $1 billion in financing toward the My Brother’s Keeper’s “six milestones” for boys and young men of color with the goal of “Ensuring all children enter school cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally ready, read at grade level by 3rd grade, graduate from high school, complete post-secondary education or training, are employed out of school and remain safe from violent crime.”
Most recently, Obama commuted the sentences of 61 federal inmates as a part of his ongoing effort to grant clemency to those harshly sentenced during the war on drugs era. “The power to grant pardons and commutations … embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws,” he wrote in a letter to the inmates, one-third of whom were serving life sentences, The Washington Post reported at the time.
In December, Minaj revealed how Obama’s sympathetic view towards prisoners incarcerated for drug charges “melted my heart.” “I thought it was so important when he went to prisons and spoke to people who got 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 years for drugs. There are women who are raped, people who are killed and [offenders] don’t even serve 20 years. I was blown away, watching the footage of him speaking to the prisoners,” she said. “I loved that he made them people again. Because we all make mistakes.”
According to The Associated Press, Chance the Rapper, Ludacris, Wale, Janelle Monae and DJ Khaled, My Brother’s Keeper Task Force chair Broderick Johnson and Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett were also into attendance for the White House meeting.