Meek Mill Talks Social Activism In 'Billboard' Impact Award Acceptance Speech
"I thought it was only right if I use some of my platform and my power to actually reach back and help the people that stood up for me in my worst times."
New York City's Legacy Records was home to Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Power Players event on Thursday (Sept. 27), where the brand honored Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill. Months after his release from state prison for a probation violation, the "Amen" artist received the Impact Award for his social justice prowess this year.
"This time when I went to prison a lot of people stood up for me and a lot of people stuck their necks out for me at my roughest time in life," he said after Van Jones' introductory speech. "So I thought it was only right if I use some of my platform and my power to actually reach back and help the people that stood up for me in my worst times."
Since his release, the 31-year-old artist has used his stage time to highlight prison reform and the perils of the country's parole system. In an interview with Jason Flom's "Wrongful Conviction" podcast, the father-of-one described how his life has forever changed since he was first arrested.
“At 18 years old I was caught up in that system,” Mill said. “Even though I’ve been on the path ever since of doing spectacular in my life and where I come from, that same system is still haunting me and hawking me down even at the age of 31, and having a record deal and being able to handle business and work. It’s still haunting me, to pull me back to the same system where I just left 11 years ago.”