Following Meek Mill’s prison release on April 24 comes his highly anticipated Dreams and Nightmares: The Meek Mill Story interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt. In the short clips, the Philadelphia native admits to not feeling free even after his prison departure, and how adjusting to life on the outside is still unusual.
“It’s actually like a culture shock coming from a small cell back into the real world. I think my body has to adjust at this point,” he said. During the interview, Mill mentioned that America’s racial separation doesn’t solely exist amongst black and white people. The criminal justice system also fails other men of color, particularly Latinos.
“I think we always been divided in America where it’s always black and white. I don’t really call it black and white. A lot of black people are in prison, a lot of Spanish men are in prison,” he said, according to a statement provided by NBC. “A lot of these laws and policies are made to keep most of these minorities trapped forever. I had eight years of probation that turned to 16 years of probation. Something is not working. I’m still doing time for that case.”
Those injustices are part of the reason why Holt was interested in telling Mill’s story. At NBC Studios in Los Angeles, VIBE had a chance to speak with Holt about his experience and thoughts on the rapper’s story.
“I’m going to be honest with you. I didn’t know a lot about Meek Mill’s story,” Holt admits. “I’ve heard his name but when JAY-Z penned an Op-Ed on the New York Times that’s when I realized the depth of his story, and what he represented.”
“I think he has an opportunity to really move the needle on this issue,” he continues. “And part of that is yes because he is a rapper, for a lot of people that brings up a certain connotation. But you look at the people who supported him. I remember one day when Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots paid him a visit and one of his best friends is the owner of the 76ers. He’s had this cross-section of people who have rallied against him and the cause. We talked about it in the interview. This is the moment when you can get that kind of attention, it’s really a moment that he understands has to be seized.”
Holt describes Mill as being “thoughtful” and says that he’s “not angry, he’s not bitter. He’s very forthcoming about it. I found him to be a remarkable guy.” The veteran journalist also briefly addressed Kanye West’s recent Twitter rant where he’s avidly supporting President Donald Trump. The masses have deemed Ye’s statements (and photo) highly controversial and disrespectful to those who don’t have money and fame as a privilege. It seems like the total opposite of what Mill is advocating for.
“I don’t have verbatim exactly what he’s saying, but it strikes me that it’s obviously being overly provocative, maybe that’s who he is,” he offers. “We all know our own beliefs, and I think we all understand the truth about something. We just have to process it on our own. I hear a lot of things I don’t like but as a journalist, I support a person’s right to say what they want to say.”
Dreams and Nightmares: The Meek Mill Story airs on NBC’s Dateline May 6 at 7 p.m. ET.