Alternative Views - 2017 Sundance Film Festival
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JAY-Z's 'New York Times' Op-Ed On Meek Mill Brings Awareness To America's Criminal Justice System

JAY-Z's op-ed not only brings awareness to Meek's case but points out "the random ways people trapped in the criminal justice system are punished every day."

Since news of Meek Mill's sentencing broke on Nov. 6, JAY-Z unabashedly reacted from his Facebook account to sold-out arenas on his "4:44 Tour." Now, the entertainment mogul increased his voice on the situation in the form of a call-to-action op-ed for the New York Times.

The "Moonlight" rapper highlighted the criminal justice system's historic relationship with tacking defendants on parole or probation with red flags in the form of technical violations for minor missteps.

"On the surface, this may look like the story of yet another criminal rapper who didn't smarten up and is back where he started," JAY-Z writes. "But consider this: Meek was around 19 when he was convicted on charges relating to drug and gun possession, and he served an eight-month sentence. Now he's 30, so he has been on probation for basically his entire adult life. For about a decade, he's been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside."

From his upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, the TIME: The Kalief Browder Story executive producer shared that he's seen cases like Meek's happen far too often. "Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime," he continued. "A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew."

What led to Meek's return to prison stemmed from the dismissal of two incidents. Near the top of this year, he was detained for being involved in a St. Louis airport scuffle, which he was cleared once video evidence surfaced. In August, the NYPD arrested the 30-year-old again for reckless endangerment. On the set of a music video, he was seen popping wheelies on a motorbike. Judge Genece Brinkley also claims Meek failed a drug test. The district attorney threw out both cases, but against his probation officer and the D.A.'s no jail time recommendation, Brinkley still sentenced the "Amen" rapper to two to four years in prison.

The FBI reportedly launched an investigation into Brinkley's actions while Meek allegedly remains in solitary confinement. Read JAY-Z's full piece here.

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Oprah Winfrey Sends $500K Donation To Newark High School

One of the many reasons people love Oprah Winfrey is for her good heart and caring nature. The media mogul recently donated $500,000 to a Newark, N.J. high school, after she heard about the institution's after-school program.

Winfrey threw the students at West Side High School a pizza party, and gifted each student with a $50 gift card to ShopRite. West Side is home to the "Lights On" program, which –according to northjersey.com– "provides recreational activities at the school after hours every Friday."

"I thought what could I do?" Oprah reportedly told the students during her visit on Friday (May 17). "So I'm going to leave here tonight and leave you with a half a million dollars." According to a video Winfrey posted on her Facebook page, the school's principal Akbar Cook and his family cook each week for "Lights On."

Cook has been gaining notoriety for his efforts to provide a better learning environment for his students. In his first year as the high school's principal, Cook had five washers and driers added to the school after Officials found that several students absences were linked to a lack of clean clothes and access to washers and dryers in their homes and communities.

"We are really laying the foundation for what a community school looks like," Cook said during his appearance on Ellen in September 2018, "and what better way to change the world than a school?" Through the help of Cheerios, DeGeneres donated $50,000 to the school.

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Jason Mitchell Fired From 'The Chi' Over Misconduct Allegations

On Monday (May 20), several networks responsible for hosting shows featuring Jason Mitchell decided to cease working with the New Orleans native due to misconduct claims, Deadline states. The actor was accused of sexual harassment by an actress on The Chi and other notes of issues with Mitchell from other actresses on the series.

On Showtime's The Chi, Tiffany Boone, who plays Mitchell's girlfriend, reportedly filed complaints to Fox 21's producers of sexual misconduct. The Hollywood Reporter notes that a source revealed Boone's fiance, Marque Richardson (Dear White People), also appeared on set on different occasions when Boone was scheduled to film scenes with Mitchell.

For Netflix's Desperados, Mitchell was replaced by New Girl's Lamorne Morris before he began filming. The Hollywood Reporter also notes producers obtained "specific information which was investigated immediately and thoroughly and dealt with as quickly as possible." Mitchell was also released from his agreement with talent agencies UTA and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.

The 32-year-old actor first reached a new plateau of recognition for his role as Eazy-E in 2015's Straight Outta Compton. Since then, he's acted in Superfly, Mudbound, and Detroit.

Details are still scarce on how Mitchell's The Chi character will exit the show's storyline.

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Azealia Banks Appears To Side With Alabama's Abortion Legislation

In a now-deleted Instagram post, Azealia Banks appears to side with Alabama for their controversial legislation on abortion, which prohibits nearly all abortions at any point in a woman's pregnancy.

The "Anna Wintour" artist took to her social media page to write that while she believes abortion is "gruesome," she also feels that it is "evil" to have a late-term abortion.

"I actually see this as a blessing," she wrote regarding Alabama's legislation. "Conservatives could care less about petty racism and more about having control of medical industry $ and endeavors... I’m actually fine to really start limiting abortions in favor of other ways to prevent pregnancy. The problem today is that abortion is being used as a form of contraception rather than a last- resort option for terminating pregnancies."

She continued her caption by writing that stem-cell research is also a dangerous problem, and she is more in-favor of stopping "the deep state black embryo stem cell mars dwelling close Scientology ass liberal robot chicken plan," which is where she "draws the line."

"Abortion is not a right, it’s a luxury provided by modern science," she wrote. In a comment, she continued with "I’m not a Christian quack but everyone is a liiiiiiiitle too strong and Loud about demanding the state off abortions as a right when it is not a right. It is a privilege of modern science just like a sex change surgery or a gastric bypass sleeve."

Musicians such as Rihanna, Diddy, Snoop Dogg and more have reacted unfavorably to the ban.

Just speaking her mind.... #AzealiaBanks #AbortionBan [Reminder - #Cannaramic is live right now! Join the chat!] #SeeCannabisDifferent #LegalizeIt #SOHHNews #HipHop #RapNews #MustRead pic.twitter.com/TdH1wWBcN9

— SOHH (@sohh) May 20, 2019

A bit extreme but hmm..... #AzealiaBanks #AbortionBan [Reminder - #Cannaramic is live right now! Join the chat!] #SeeCannabisDifferent #LegalizeIt #SOHHNews #HipHop #RapNews #MustRead pic.twitter.com/htke0BwcGd

— SOHH (@sohh) May 20, 2019

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