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Remy Ma Opens Up About The Hidden Struggles Of Incarcerated Black Women

"This system is designed for you to fail."

Remy Ma has decided to take an important stance against mass incarceration, pointedly in regards to one population that has received little attention despite rising rates of prison time.“Black women are overlooked all the time," Remy says. "People don’t know all the hardships that being a black woman you have to face."

The Bronx emcee, who served a six years sentence for an assault charge, opens up about the struggles she and other Black women faced while they were incarcerated after watching Ava Duvernay's 13 documentary.

"People think I dwell on my incarceration. They don't understand that literally, one day, I'm in my house, and the next, I'm miles and miles away behind bricks and barbed wire. It literally rips you out of the world, puts you somewhere else, and when they feel that it's time, like, 'Okay, now's the time,' they just throw you back out into the world. You try to fill out for a job application, you try to fill out for housing, anything as simple as voting for something that you did," she told Huffington Post . "It's never really like you paid your debt to society. This system is designed for you to fail."

While there are constant critics and studies compiled about Black men who have been incarcerated in the aftermath of the War on Drugs and mass incarceration, the rising criminalization of Black women has yet to make media attention with the same fervency. According to the Bureau of Justice  statistics, Black women are eleven times more likely to be incarcerated than white women, and Black transgender and gender nonconforming people are more likely to be incarcerated out of the queer population.

The mass incarceration of Black women was 35 years in the making. In 1986, the Reagan administration passed the Anti-drug Abuse Act, making a 5-year sentence for selling crack-cocaine mandatory. While the bill proved disastrous for Black men, the effects were just as harrowing for women. "The Act also took its toll on women, particularly Black women. Under the Act, police and prosecutors were able to arrest and charge spouses and lovers with drug trafficking 'conspiracy' for everyday actions such as taking a phone message or sharing finances," explains Victoria Law for Public Eye .

The media persona of Black women created during Reagan's presidency also set the stage for the mass incarceration rate of Black women. "Reagan’s War on Drugs coincided with a less-trumpeted right-wing war on women. Invoking images of Black welfare mothers driving Cadillacs and having children solely to collect more taxpayer dollars, Reagan and his acolytes whipped up public furor against welfare recipients and the idea that society should support those most in need," Law continues. "The frenzy continued past his presidency; in 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) was introduced as part of the Republican Contract with America and heavily pushed by House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other Republicans, as well as right-wing think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, home of Charles Murray, whose racist writings formed the foundation for welfare reform." Such a narrative that began nearly 40 years ago provided the basis for massive stop-and-frisk of Black women and their funneling into the American prison system.

Black transgender women are more likely to be stopped by police, as they are often profiled as sex workers, even when they aren't involved in the line of work. They are also more likely to be placed in solitary confinement by correctional officers for their gender identity when imprisoned, under the guise of protection.

As a survivor of the prison system, Remy Ma's vocal support of prisoners is especially important, in light of the longest ongoing prison strike in American history, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica prison uprising and the lesser known female prison rebellion at Beford Hills Correctional Facility in 1974.

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Tyler Perry Orders Independent Autopsy For Nephew Who Died In Louisiana Prison

Tyler Perry has hired a medical examiner to perform a second autopsy on his nephew’s remains after the 26 year old was found dead inside his cell at Louisiana's Union Parish Detention Center earlier in the week. Gavin Porter’s death was reported as a suicide but Perry and his family don’t believe that he took his own life.

Porter was serving 20 years for manslaughter after fatally shooting his father in front of his mother, Perry’s sister, over a “senseless argument,” the writer-director wrote on Instagram on Thursday (Feb. 27).

“The murder shook our entire family,” Perry shared. “Despite his horrible act, before he went to prison I went to see him in the local jail. I assured him that we all still loved him, but it was important to all of us, including his mother, that he was punished for this horrific crime that he committed. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

“Call me naive, but it was my hope that after serving his time, and really reflecting and showing much remorse and asking God for forgiveness, that he would have been able to come to work for me, joining all the other former inmates who work for me and turn his life around just as they have. But that day will never come.”

Officials told the family that Porter was placed in solitary confinement last weekend following a fight with other inmates.

“Three days ago, I got the horrible news that he allegedly committed suicide in prison,” Perry continued. “I say allegedly because, unfortunately, our criminal justice system and prisons have been notorious for cover ups and/or getting it wrong.”

Perry hired former New York City medical examiner, Dr. Michael Baden, who investigated JFK’s assassination, testified at the O.J. Simpson trial, and performed independent autopsies on Mike Brown and Aaron Hernandez, among others. The result of Porter’s second autopsy are expected “soon,” according to Perry.

The prison requested an investigation into Porter’s death and the alleged fight that occurred prior to his passing. “We respect the family’s right to request another autopsy to be done. This is not an unusual request.We are continuing our investigation and awaiting autopsy results,” a rep for the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office told TMZ in a statement.

Union Parish Detention Center has made headlines before over its treatment of inmates. In 2018, the prison settled a discrimination complaint for placing a detainee in segregation for six months because he was HIV positive. The following year, two prison guards were arrested for beating an inmate that complained about not getting a lunch tray. Another guard was fired and charged with malfeasance in office and simple battery for attacking an inmate “who was causing a disturbance” from his cell.

Read Perry’s full statement below.

 

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My Nephew Gavin Porter

A post shared by Tyler Perry (@tylerperry) on Feb 27, 2020 at 2:15pm PST

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Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant reacts during the Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals in Boston, Massachusetts, June 17, 2008.
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Kobe Bryant’s Sister Gets Tattoo In Honor Of Her Late Brother And Niece

Kobe Bryant’s sister immortalized her late brother and niece with a new tattoo. Sharia Washington’s tattoo features a black mamba snake shaped to look like an infinity sign with Kobe and Gigi's basketball numbers “2” and “24.”

Washington posted an image of the tattoo on Instagram on Wednesday (Feb. 26) thanking artist, Peter Barrios, for his work.

Vanessa Bryant reposted the image with the caption, “My sister-in-law got this cool tattoo to honor #GigiBryant and #Kobe. 2-24 forever. Love you @shariawash.

 

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Thank you @peterbarriostattoo 🙏🐍💕

A post shared by Sharia Washington (@shariawash) on Feb 26, 2020 at 5:26pm PST

 

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A post shared by Sharia Washington (@shariawash) on Jan 31, 2020 at 12:43pm PST

LeBron James and fellow Lakers player, Anthony Davis, got tattoos in Kobe’s honor last month.

The lives of the NBA legend and his 13-year-old daughter were celebrated during a public memorial held at the Staples Center earlier in the week, where Vanessa eulogized her late husband and daughter.

The memorial included speeches from Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal, as well as performances from Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera.

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Dylann Roof Stages Reported Hunger Strike After Accusing Prison Staff Of Harassment And Abuse

Dylann Roof reportedly staged a hunger strike in prison  because he says he's being “targeted by staff,” harassed and abused.

The White supremacist mass murderer, who is on death row for killing nine Black parishioners at a historically Black church in Charleston, S.C. in 2015 and is the first person to receive the death penalty for a hate crime, sent a letter to the Associated Press earlier in the month accusing prison staff of mistreatment. Roof also alleges that staff feels justified because he’s “hated by the general public.”

Roof is imprisoned at Terre Haute Federal Prison in Terre, Ind. The 25-year-old killer was attacked by a fellow inmate in 2016. Roof now alleges that he has been the subject of unprovoked harassment and abuse and “treated disproportionately harsh.”

Roof launched the hunger strike after allegedly being mistreated by a Bureau of Prisons disciplinary hearing officer amid previous complaints over being refused access to a copy machine.

Roof’s allegations have yet to be verified. His lawyers are currently appealing his death sentence.

According to his letter to AP, Roof claimed that his hunger strike lasted “several days.” He ended the strike because he passed out after corrections officer tried to “forcibly” take his blood and put an IV in his arm.

“I feel confident I could have gone much, much longer without food,” Roof wrote in the letter. “It’ just not worth being murdered over.”

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