Controversy has surrounded the recent incarceration Meek Mill. Over the last decade, Mill has become a popular rapper and recording artist, most known for songs such as “Ima Boss” and “All Eyes on You”. He grew up in the projects of North Philadelphia, and began freestyle rapping at age 12. By 2008, he had grown from an underground rapper to releasing his first single, and in the next few years, he dropped several mixtapes. His first album, “Dreams and Nightmares” debuted in 2012, followed by “Dreams Worth More than Money” that sat at the top of the charts in 2015, and his most recent album, “Wins & Losses” is currently at Number 3.
Although Mill appears as if he has successfully escaped the grasps of poverty and violence to become a successful artist in the music industry, he has had a lot of run-ins with the law. In 2007, Mill was arrested for carrying drugs and an unlicensed fire-arm. He was to serve 11.5 to 23 months in jail, and have 5 years of probation. They released Mills after 8 months for good behavior, but he still had probation.
After his release in 2009, Mill continued his music career, and grew immensely as an artist. However, during that time, he needed permission to leave Pennsylvania, even if it was for a concert tour, music video shoot, or anything related directly to his career. He found himself in courtroom repeatedly for violating probation terms of traveling out of Pennsylvania without court approval. His art was making him a criminal, and Mill found his probation time continually extended as a result. Many people believe this was extremely unfair treatment since he is an artist who needs to travel to further his career, and that the court systems looked for any reason to continually entrap him rather than let him flourish.
The recent incarceration comes as a result of two arrests Mill has faced in the past year — a fist fight in an airport in St. Louis because he did not want to take a picture, and after he performed dirt-bike tricks in the streets of New York for a music video shoot. While these two things may seem like any artist may do, they were direct violations of his probation. He also tested positive for drugs. Mill found himself back in courtroom. Even though begged for forgiveness, Judge Brinkley did not cut any slack for him, and ordered him to serve 2 to 4 years in prison.
Since the news broke, #FreeMeekMill has gone viral on social media platforms. His fans are outraged that a man as talented as Mill would be put behind bars for small infractions. Famous individuals such as Jay-Z and Colin Kapaernick have spoke out on his behalf, saying that Mill is a victim of systemic oppression of the justice system. Many believe that judge has treated him unfairly and overly-involved in Mill’s life to the point that it is unprofessional.
However, with all this said, Mill’s case is not new. There are many individual’s who wind up back in jail because of small technical probation violations, and it happens every day. Meek Mill was treated just as any other person with a record would have treated for violating their probation. However, the one thing that Mill has that other individual’s do not, is his popularity and money, which has put his case in the public eye. The outcry seems to stem from the fact that people care about the injustices Mill faced since is famous, not necessarily from the systematic injustices in the system affecting everyone. Should Mill be treated any differently just because he is famous? No. Is there injustices in the system? Definitely, but that is a whole different story.