Drug laws have intensified in recent years…and Jay Z isn’t here for it. The rapper narrates a new op-ed video, in which he slams the war on drugs started by President Nixon in 1971, pointing out that Blacks and Latinos are now specifically targeted for drug crimes. Watch his piece here.
Jay Z starts out the New York Times op-ed by revealing how many more people are imprisoned in the U.S. for drug use now that we’ve cracked down on these laws. “today, we imprison more people than any other country in the world — China, Russia, Iran, Cuba. All countries we consider autocratic and repressive,” he says. “Yeah, more than them. Judges hands were tied by tough-on-crime laws and they were forced to hand out mandatory life sentences for simple possessions and low-level drug sales.”
But it’s more than that, he points out — it’s that black people, like him, seem to be targeted more than whites, who are using the same drugs. “Even though white people used and sold crack more than black people, somehow it was black people that went to prison,” he rants. “The media ignored actual data to this day. Crack is still talked about as a black problem. The NYPD raided our Brooklyn neighborhoods while Manhattan bankers openly used coke with impunity.”
He goes into much more detail throughout the clip, discussing the boosted economy in Colorado now that they have an above-ground marijuana industry, and explaining that the rate of drug use is still just as bad as it was when Nixon declared the war on drugs in 1971.
“45 years later, it’s time to rethink our policies and laws,” he concludes. “The war on drugs is an epic fail.” The video is accompanied with artwork by Molly Crabapple, and is meant to be a history lesson, as well as an opinion piece.
HollywoodLifers, do you agree with Jay’s opinion about the war on drugs? Do you think it’s failed…or is it working as planned?