Jay Z like to talk facts, so narrating an explanation of the war on drugs, and how it failed, is right up his alley. In a short film for the New York Times, which is illustrated by Molly Crabapple, Hova breaks down how racism and the “war on drugs” is intertwined, and ultimately caused its failure.
The film touches on the Nixon administration and the Rockefeller drug laws, how Black people in Crown Heights get stopped for infractions that students in Columbia are no doubt up to (read: drug possession), the ridiculous levels of incarceration in the U.S. for low level offenses and much more.
For the unfamiliar with the Crack Era (thanks Ronald Reagan), the film is quite enlightening. For example, cocaine and crack are the exact same drugs just taken differently. But Blacks were getting jailed for its use at an exponentially hire rate than Wall Street bankers who were sniffing away. Also, white people reportedly used and smoked more crack than Black people—but it’s still a stereotypically “Black” drug.
The project was conceived by dream hampton, who reached out to the Drug Policy Alliance about linking with Revolve Impact, an organization that connects influencers with community organizers that she is a part of. The goal was to illustrate the contradiction of white people getting rich off legalized marijuana considering they’re essentially peddling the same thing that got Black people sent to jail.
Watch the enlightening short film below.
Photo: Molly Crabapple via NY Times