Jay Z is speaking out on the war on drugs — specifically, how it has targeted and affected the Black community.
In a video published by the New York Times on Thursday, the New York rapper breaks down statistics while shedding light on the issue at hand: “Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?”
In the video, as Jay talks about former Presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan’s choices to focus on drugs rather other issues, viewers are watching a photo being illustrated by New York artist Molly Crabapple of a neighborhood in Brooklyn.
“No one wanted to talk about Reaganomics and the ending of social safety nets. The defunding of schools and the loss of jobs in cities across America,” Beyonce’s husband said. “Young men like me who hustled became the sole villain and drug addicts lacked moral fortitude.”
Jay shared that the Feds made distinctions between people who sold powder cocaine and crack cocaine — even though they were the same drug, the only difference being how you take it.
He shared, “And even though white people used and sold crack more than Black people, somehow it was Black people who went to prison. The media ignored actual data. To this day, crack is still talked about as a Black problem.”
As Jay continued to speak, the illustrator created several images, including men in prison judges whose “hands were tied on tough on crime laws” and who “were forced to hand out mandatory life sentences for simple possession of low level drug sales.”
The “Drug Dealers Anonymous” rapper, who also sold drugs as a teenager, concluded, “Rates of drug use are as high as they were when Nixon declared this so-called war in 1971. Forty-five years later, it’s time to rethink our policies and laws. The war on drugs is an epic fail.”
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