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Meek Mill To Be Released After Spending Five Months In Prison

He was initially sentenced to two to four years in prison for a probation violation.

After Meek Mill received a wave of support from JAY-Z and Beyonce to criminal justice reform groups like #cut50, his freedom was granted by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday (Apr. 24). The exact time for his release is rumoured to be this evening, The New York Times reports. He was initially sentenced to two to four years for a probation violation.

The Philadelphia native, born Robert Williams, issued a statement concerning his release on bail after spending five months in prison, thanking those that stood by his side and why his platform can help change the course for others in his situation.

“I’d like to thank God, my family, my friends, my attorneys, my team at Roc Nation including JAY-Z, Desiree Perez, my good friend Michael Rubin, my fans, The Pennsylvania Supreme Court and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this difficult time," Williams stated. "While the past five months have been a nightmare, the prayers, visits, calls, letters and rallies have helped me stay positive. To the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice – not only for my case, but for others that have been wrongfully jailed due to police misconduct. Although I’m blessed to have the resources to fight this unjust situation, I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues. In the meantime, I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career.”

Per a statement issued to VIBE, Williams' lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said Judge Genece Brinkley received a mandate to issue his release. Brinkley has been presiding over Williams' case since 2008. The 30-year-old rapper was first sentenced at the age of 18 for gun and drugs possession. Since then, he's been on probation.

In addition to Williams' upcoming release, Tacopina said his legal team is "pleased that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has noted that Judge Brinkley may opt to remove herself from presiding over any further proceedings in Meek’s case in the interests of justice. Meek is excited to be reunited with his family, and we, along with Meek, intend to continue to shine the light on a justice system in need of reform to prevent any other citizen from being put through what Meek has endured.”

The news garnered reactions from his supporters, including Kevin Hart who recently visited Williams in prison this afternoon. "Stand up Philadelphia!!!!!" Hart captioned an Instagram post. During his visit, the comedian also shared with ABC 6 that Williams' case will "shine a light on" other plights in the criminal justice system.

"You've got to take some good with the bad, and I think the good in this situation is he now has a platform and I think, coming out, he will be able to use that platform to shine a light on how corrupt this system is and keep the younger generation from going through this," he said.

T.I. also shared a phone conversation he had with Williams upon his pending release:

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Gina Rodriguez Tearfully Addresses Anti-Black Allegations

Gina Rodriguez sparked controversy on social media in Nov. 2018, after she made questionable claims about the racial pay gap in the workplace. During a panel discussion on Neta Porter's "The Television Debate" with Gabrielle Union, Ellen Pompeo, and more, the actress falsely claimed that black women were paid more than Latina and Asian women. Nearly two months after the backlash, Rodriguez sat down with Sway in the Morning on Jan. 22, to explain her previous statements and debunk the notion that she is anti-black.

"I wasn’t speaking about my industry," she said of her previous comments about the racial pay gap. "I always find it difficult to  talk about equal pay as a woman who makes a substantial amount of money. As somebody who came from poverty to now the amount of money I get paid, it doesn’t feel right that I’m the one talking about it because i’m just so damn grateful…"

The Jane the Virgin actress stated that she was devastated by the tweets from the black community that claimed she was anti-black because she felt deeply connected to the racial group growing up. "What I was saying is that when we talk about equal pay we have to talk about intersectionality because we all must rise. And so, the backlash was devastating to say the least because the black community was the only community I looked towards," she continued. "Growing up, we didn’t have many Latino shows and the black community made me feel like I was seen. So to get ‘anti-black’ is saying that I’m anti-family. My father is dark-skinned. He’s Afro-latino. And my cousins are. And Puerto Ricans are African, Taino, and Spaniard blood…"

She also suggested that the backlash was fueled by click-bait. "I know my heart. I know what I meant. And I really wish we lived in a culture that wasn’t click-bait because I’ve never said anything controversial about anybody and far would I ever," she added. "The black community is my community. As Latinos, we have black Latinos. That is what we are. I think when I talk about Latino advocacy they think I mean people only my skin color. And little do they know that I’m very aware of what my culture is… It was a really really dark time for me."

Check out Rodriguez's full comments on the subject at the 12:34-mark in the video above.

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Senate To Propose Two Bills That Might End Government Shutdown

Since Dec. 22, more than a handful of federal workers have yet to clock in. Under Donald Trump's order, agencies that fall within the federal government's banner were closed until a resolve concerning immigration and a border wall between Mexico and the United States was agreed upon by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate.

While on the latter's end a proposal of $5.7 billion to fund the wall was met with contention by the Democrats, both parties plan to meet on Thursday (Jan. 24) to propose two bills that might speed up the end of the shutdown. According to TIME, the Republican's proposal still includes the multi-billion dollar request for the wall, but they would agree to give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients a "three-year reprieve" from being deported. The Democrats want to re-open the government until Feb. 8 as a means of gathering more time to reach a resolution.

TIME also notes that the Democrats might not agree to the GOP's plan because, on the subject of DACA and TPS recipients, a formidable plan of action to protect them has yet to be implemented. "The President's proposal is one-sided, harshly partisan, and was made in bad faith. It's like bargaining for stolen goods," Senator Chuck Schumer said.

Per ABC News, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stressed the dire position the country is in under Trump's position. "We can't have a president, every time he has an objection, to say I'll shut down government until you come to my way of thinking," Pelosi said. "Understand, that is part of the point of this. If we hold the employees hostage now, they're hostage forever."

The proposals both need 60 votes, which would possibly lead to ending the shutdown.

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Future Confronted Jay-Z Over '4:44' Diss: "You Supposed To Be Biggin’ Me Up"

Many suspected that there was beef between Future and Jay-Z after Hov appeared to take a jab at Future's current family situation on his 2017 album, 4:44. While Hendrix has remained rather silent about the subliminal line in the past, the rapper revealed during an interview on Hot 107.9 ATL's "The Durty Boyz Show" that he actually confronted Jay about the line.

The lyric in question appeared on Jay-Z's single "Kill Jay-Z." "In the future, other n***as playin' football with your son/You had lost it, 13 bottles of Ace of Spade what it did to Boston," Jigga raps. The lyrical wordplay appears to reference Future and Ciara's intense custody battle and also commented on Russell Wilson filling in as a father figure for Future's son.

While he admittedly thought it was a diss, he says Jay was singing a different tune. "When I talked to him, ‘I didn’t really say that. Look man, I didn’t mean it like that.'" He said of his conversation with the Brooklyn artist. "And I was just like, you supposed to be biggin’ up the rap community. NFL deal with NFL. You supposed to be biggin’ me up if anything."

The "Rocket Ship" rapper also stated that rappers shouldn't attack other rappers for the sake of Instagram captions or memes. "We come from the trenches. I come from the streets. You come from the streets," he continued. "You supposed to be biggin’ me up. You supposed to be giving that no negative attention for a hot line, something that’s going to always be out…"

Despite the past drama however, Future says he's moved on and is focusing his attention on bigger things.  "[The song is] out now… It is what it is. I ain’t even trippin’ off him. I’m trying to get to where I’m going, and ain’t nobody going to stop me or whatever going on, the talking, the captions, or whatever the memes – it can’t stop me because it’s a vision that I have and it’s goals that I have, that I set out for myself that I got to get that no matter what."

Future is currently promoting his latest album, The Wzrd, which was released on Jan. 18. Check out the clip from his recent interview below.

 

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#PressPlay: #Future talks about speaking with #JayZ about his lyrics on his 4:44 album 👀 (📹: @durttyboyz/ @hot1079atl)

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Jan 23, 2019 at 5:00am PST

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