While the Obama administration has made small strides in regards to prison reform, Pusha T says there is much more work to be done. In a new PSA, the rapper advocates against the mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, which continues to split up families and divide the nation.
In the brief video, made in collaboration with organizations ECCO and Fictionless, Pusha T recited the story of Norman Brown, a former inmate who spent 25 years in prison for a non-violent offense. “When the judge gave me a life sentence, I had to ask myself, was I ever going home again,” Pusha narrated in the video. “I was found guilty on six counts of crack cocaine distribution. It was a non-violent offense, but because of prior offenses and sentencing guidelines, I got life without parole. I was 22 years old when I went to jail, but I was really a boy.”
Despite having grown up in a middle class home, Brown found himself being influenced by his friends’ environment, and as a result of selling narcotics, he was taken from his life of freedom and cast away. King Push continued the 3-minute video, revealing what Brown’s experience was like in prison. “In jail I was in a crazy environment. If you put your food in a locker, the mice would get it before you could eat. There were people who screamed at themselves,” he recited. During the first 15 years of his sentencing, Brown suffered the loss of his parents and grandparents, and missed the birth of his daughter. More than a decade inside, he was slowly giving up on the prison system, but found his purpose and began teaching anger management classes to other inmates.
In 2015, Brown applied for clemency, which was later granted by President Obama.”I’ve only been out a short while and everything is in 3-D to me,” Pusha T said, also sharing some of the difficulties of transitioning into society. The PSA concluded by Pusha campaigning for the system to change so that Brown’s story doesn’t repeat itself. “There’s a time when fruit it ripe and at its best. But we all know the next stage is the fruit getting rotten, and what happens is that if you leave people for too long, they can become rotten. When you let us rot away, society loses out on the gifts we have to give to the community and the world,” he said.
Earlier in the year, Pusha T released another PSA, calling for the support of California’s marijuana bill. Following the presidential election, California along with a few other states passed the bill, which permits the recreational use of marijuana smoking. It may be just one small step, but the bill’s passing will most likely help solve mass incarceration and bring those who are locked up for non-violent crimes back home quicker.