2018 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - Day 3
Getty Images

Snoop Dogg, Faith Evans And More Ask Trump To Commute Loon's 11-Year Prison Sentence

Free Loon. 

Over a dozen celebrities are asking President Donald Trump to grant clemency to former rapper Loon, who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for a minor role in a non-violent drug offense.

The letter, which was sent to Trump this month (June 13), was signed by Snoop Dogg, former NBA champion Kevin Garnett, music industry executive Jason Flom, movie producer Scott Budnick (The Hangover), Grammy-winners Faith Evans and Stevie J, Roc Nation rapper Freeway, Baby Bash, fashion model Jeremy Meeks, and recent clemency recipient Alice Johnson, whose sentence was commuted by Trump after a widely circulated campaign by Kim Kardashian West.

Addressed to Trump, former record producer turned criminal justice advocate Weldon Angelos, questioned Loon's (born Chauncey Lamont Hawkins, now Amir Junaid Muhadith) lengthy sentence and pointed out Muhadith's adjusted lifestyle after the offense happened.  

"We strongly urge you to grant him [Loon] a presidential commutation of sentence without delay,” he wrote. "It’s ridiculous that this talented individual was given such a long sentence for merely making an introduction. What purpose is served by keeping him in prison? He completely changed his life around years before he was indicted. This is just another example of a wasteful and destructive criminal justice system.”

Muhadith was originally sentenced to 14 years on charges of conspiring with intent to distribute one or more kilos of heroin in 2011. The former rapper, who was signed to Puff Daddy's Bad Boy Records, explained the nature of his case. BET reported he declined a trial due to his prior felony convictions but maintained his innocence throughout the ordeal. In 2008, Muhadith claimed he took a call from someone who presented him with an opportunity "totally away from the lifestyle he was living," but because he "made an introduction," he was named an accessory in the drug case.  

That same year, Muhadith converted to Islam after a tour stop in Abu Dhabi. He also ended his solid music career which included the release of hits like Diddy's "I Need A Girl Part 2," and collaborations with the likes of Kelis, Toni Braxton, and 3LW. 

In a statement to VIBEMuhadith thanked his supporters and discussed the importance of dismantling stigmas that are linked to "a broken and unjust system."

“It is only through the overwhelming push by this administration to change the state of our criminal justice system that real progress is finally being made," he said. "Alongside an extraordinary group of individuals such as Weldon Angelos, Jason Flom, Faith Evans, Kevin Garnett, Jessica Jackson Sloan at #cut50 and so many others who are not only advocating on my behalf but seek to support broader change for a broken and unjust system. It is through my own desire for change and the support of so many that I return back to society as an asset to my community, a loving husband and father, and an advocate in our battle for real criminal justice reform.”

The push to free Muhadith stems from Angelos, the founder of The Weldon Project. The organization is dedicated to raising awareness and social equity in the cannabis industry as well as helping with financial aid for those currently serving prison sentences for non-violent cannabis offenses.

"Loon’s [Muhadith's] case is a prime example of a criminal justice system that simply warehouses inmates and does not make us any safer," Angelos tells VIBE. "Prisons should be reserved for those who pose a risk to public safety. What purpose is served by keeping him in prison any longer? Loon reformed himself years before he was even arrested. And his sentence for a minor role in a nonviolent drug offense is longer than what the federal guidelines recommend for rape and kidnapping. It’s ridiculous."

"But I’m confident that the president will carefully consider his petition and the views of those who are asking him to commute it. We had an amazing show of support by those in the entertainment industry who signed onto Loon’s letter and who also care about criminal justice issues, and I look forward to building a bridge between this group of signers and the White House to see where we can work together to achieve additional reforms."

Muhadith is scheduled for release in November 2021. Learn more about The Weldon Project here.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Getty Images

Barack Obama Says He Doesn't Like The Term “Defund The Police”

Barack Obama's advice about the using the term “defund the police” is receiving mixed reviews. The former commander in chief explained his issue with the “slogan” in an interview on the Snapchat show Good Luck America.

Obama cautioned against using the term as he feels it to be exclusionary. “If you want people to buy your sneakers you’re going to market it to your audience. It’s no difference in terms of ideas,” he explained. “If you believe, as I do, that we should be able to reform the criminal justice system so that it's not biased and treats everybody fairly, I guess you can use a snappy slogan, like ‘defund the police.’ But you know, you lost a big audience the minute you say it, which makes it a lot less likely that you're actually going to get the changes you want done.”

He also suggested that instead of “defund the police” people should say: “Let’s reform the police department so that everybody’s treated fairly.”

The 59-year-old politician seemingly theorized that the use of “defund the police” may have cost Democrats House seats in the recent election. “The key is deciding do you want to actually get something done, or do you want to feel good among the people you already agree with? If you want to get something done in a democracy, in a country as big and diverse as ours, than you got to be able to meet people where they are and play a game of addition and not subtraction.”

Read some of the reactions to his comments below.

With all due respect, Mr. President—let’s talk about losing people. We lost Michael Brown Jr. We lost Breonna Taylor. We’re losing our loved ones to police violence.

It’s not a slogan. It’s a mandate for keeping our people alive. Defund the police. https://t.co/Wsxp1Y1bBi

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) December 2, 2020

Imagine if Obama came out and gave a quick speech about how Defund the Police means reallocating resources to organizations that can help, instead of using cops to deal with things like mental health situations.

Says a lot about the man that he instead criticizes slogans.

— Dave Anthony PHD, MD, Esquire. (@daveanthony) December 2, 2020

obama doesn't like "defund the police" as a slogan because it is a specific actionable thing with a clear goal in mind. hope, change, yes we can & all that are better because they don't require you to actually do anything after saying them

— Shaun (@shaun_vids) December 2, 2020

What if activists aren’t PR firms for politicians & their demands are bc police budgets are exploding, community resources are shrinking to bankroll it, & ppl brought this up for ages but it wasn’t until they said “defund” that comfortable people started paying attn to brutality

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) December 2, 2020

The phrase 'defund the police' is awkward and misleading. It doesn't accurately convey the need to reallocate funding so that social services and policing are properly weighted.

The phrase mangles the meaning in a way that guarantees that many won't ever even hear it.

— Floss Obama🎅🏾 (@FlossObama) December 3, 2020

Obama is right. Defund the Police is a bad slogan. Reform the Police is better.

— PoliticsVideoChannel (@politvidchannel) December 2, 2020

obama is right. y’all need to stop saying defund the police when we mean abolish the police

— anti-lawn aktion (@antihoa) December 2, 2020

No one can push neoliberal thought like Obama. Suddenly, EVERYONE has decided that "defund the police" is just a slogan, and that it is responsible for Dems losing even tho none of them supported it.

The aim is to undermine activists just like he did w/ the potential NBA strike.

— Honeyves (@AdamantxYves) December 2, 2020

I need Barack Obama to leave the sloganeering to the movement.

Defund. The. Police.

We are keeping it. We are demanding it.

— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) December 2, 2020

We lose people in the hands of police. It’s not a slogan but a policy demand. And centering the demand for equitable investments and budgets for communities across the country gets us progress and safety. https://t.co/Vu6inw4ms7

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) December 2, 2020

Continue Reading
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Juice Wrld’s Mom Shares Touching Tribute In Honor Of His Birthday

Juice Wrld would have turned 22 on Wednesday (Dec. 2). In honor of his birthday, the late rapper’s mother, Camille Wallace, shared a touching message posted to his social media accounts.

“Jarad and I both loved celebrating our birthdays — mine is just two weeks before his. On our special days we used to wish one another Happy Birthday dozens and dozens of times throughout the day. Now I like to think of all the ‘Happy Birthday’ we saved for the future.”

The statement adds, “He will forever be the light of my life. Today, we celebrate him, his immense talent and creativity and his contribution to this world. Through his art, he spoke his truth.”

Happy Birthday, Jarad. We miss you. #lljw🕊 pic.twitter.com/TCoNQRLvuq

— . (@JuiceWorlddd) December 2, 2020

The “Lucid Dreams” rhymer, whose birth name Jarad Anthony Higgins, died from an accidental drug overdose last year. He passed away six days after his 21st birthday.

Continue Reading
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

G Herbo And Crew Charged In $1.5 Million Federal Fraud Case

G Herbo and several others including his manager, have been charged along with a few crew members in a $1.5 million federal fraud case. The 25-year-old rapper, born Herbert Wright III, is accused of committing identity theft by using stolen credit cards and IDs to pay for lavish gifts and vacations over a four-year period, the Chicago Tribune reports.

The 14-count indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court in Springfield, Massachusetts in September and publicized on Wednesday (Dec. 2), alleges that Herbo, his manager and promoter, Antonio “T-Glo” Strong.

The other defendants named in the case are Joseph “Joe Rodeo” Williams, Stephen Hayes Jr., Demario Sorrells, and Terrence Bender, obtained stolen credit card information, including cardholder’s name, addresses, account numbers, security codes and expiration dates. The information was reportedly obtained on the “dark web” and used to pay for luxury hotels, exotic car rentals, a personal chef, private security, commercial flights and private jets, two designer puppies, vacations and more.

The group faces conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft charges. Strong, who is alleged to be the ring leader and faces wire fraud charges, was arrested on Sept. 25. Williams reportedly turned himself in to authorities.

Herbo has yet to publicly comment on the matter. Earlier this week, the Chicago native was named among Forbes annual 30 Under 30 list.

Continue Reading

Top Stories