Meek Mill Release and Mass Incarceration

Tuesday afternoon, after five months of incarceration, Meek Mill was finally released. The popular rapper had been held since late November as a result of a failed drug test and violating the travel restrictions of his probation. Mill had violated his probation several times and Judge Genece E. Brinkley, who had overseen Mill’s probation over the years, was clearly fed up with the rapper’s antics and sentenced him to 2-4 years in prison. Immediately, there was outrage among Meek’s associates and passionate fans. After months of silence along with protests, and unrest, Mill was finally released Tuesday and immediately made his presence felt with an appearance at the Philadelphia 76’ersplayoff game; where fans showed heavy support for Philadelphia native.

Although Meek’s release shows the power of the people in the face of injustice, it also highlights a much larger issue in America. Mass incarceration, especially that of African Americans, is a result of the flawed American criminal justice system. After his release, Meek tweeted, “I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues.” As a result of his release, he has the chance to make a huge impact on an issue that is talked about enough. The corruptedness of the prison system in America is obvious and when taking a close look at mandatory minimums, probation violations, and a multitude of other issues. The possibilities of Meek’s opportunity is endless. He could back bail funds, and team up with organizations like Black Lives Matter to spearhead campaigns to fund the release of black men and women in prisons across America. He could start his own social campaign and make an impact within the city of Philadelphia. He could make a documentary or write a book, and give outsiders a first-hand look at the flaws in our prison system and the struggles that one must go through to see the light of day again as a free man or woman. All things considered, Meek must carefully think about the steps he is going to take to make an impact on the lives of African Americans in the present and for the future.

Meek Mill And Mass Incarceration: How Rapper Can Work To Help The Movement

Free Angela and All Political Prisoners

“Free Angela and All Political Prisoners’ by Shola Lynch”

by Nicolas Rapold

“Shola Lynch’s documentary about Angela Davis, the activist and beacon of counterculture radicalism, is a snappily edited, archivally wallpapered recollection of fearless behavior in the face of an antsy establishment. But it’s equally significant as a pointed act of retelling.”




Attica Uprising

“Attica Uprising”

“Though the Attica prison uprising was nearly a half-century ago, the catastrophic event — the nation’s deadliest prison riot — has again become a touchstone issue in conversations about prison conditions and reforms.

In western New York, Attica has long remained a historical scar that is memorialized annually. But two books released in the past 13 months brought renewed national attention to the September 1971 riot. And, those two books are key to events at area universities that will remember the uprising and its significance.”

Black Power and the Gendered Imaginary

“Black Power and the Gendered Imaginary” by Jakobi Williams and Andrea M. Sterling

“Ashley D. Farmer’s  Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era is an essential new text in the recent historiography of Black Power. Remaking Black Power argues that Black women’s constructions, re/imaginings, and re/definitions of womanhood are crucial sites for the expression and building of Black Power. Farmer situates Black women subjects as integral components of Black Power, as she centers Black women as theoreticians, symbols, political actors via their ideas–their activism in concert with political imaginings, and their diverse visions of Black womanhood within the context of political and cultural organizing.  She categorizes the contributions of Black women in the twentieth century as “The Militant Black Domestic,” “The Revolutionary Black Woman,” “The African Woman,” “The Pan-African Woman,” and the “Third World Woman.” The struggle and work produced by these Black women were inherently intersectional—they pushed against forced definitions of Blackness imposed by western/mainstream society and challenged sexist and limiting ideas of womanhood and gender produced by the larger patriarchal society.

Black women utilized their visual art, creative writing, speeches, and community work also to challenge the predominately men-centered popular beliefs of Black Power. The work created by these women pushed them into the center as opposed to them only operating on the periphery of Black Power, due in part to their re-imagining of leadership and action. Farmer argues that the redefinition and re-imaginings of self and identity conducted by these Black women are reflective of more extensive ideologies that Black resistance groups were following: the desire to redefine themselves outside the constructions and definitions imposed upon them by the white hegemonic power structure. In the first chapter, Farmer focuses on how the “Militant Negro Domestic” asserted her power and activism in the Black nationalist movement prior to Stokely Carmichael’s creation of the term “Black Power” in 1966. The next chapter centers Panther women in the heart of the most popular Black Power group, the Black Panther Party. Panther women directly proclaimed their agency to ensure that the Black Panther Party projected a less-patriarchal view of Black nationalism and international solidarity. The third chapter documents the evolution of the “African Woman” that challenged Karenga’s men-led Kawaida to incorporate a more feminist, anti-capitalist vision of Black activism that rejected gendered hierarchies. Chapter four examines the “Pan-African Woman” that forged solidarities with African nations resisting colonialism and those that acquired independence and sovereignty. Black women’s involvement in the planning of the 6th International Pan-African Conference in Tanzania highlighted the gender-inclusive modes of activism as a significant policy of the Black liberation struggle. The fifth chapter expands upon the previous chapter by closely examining the “Third World Black Woman” that aligned with all women of color and advocated for the erasure of gendered hierarchies in anti-colonial and anti-white hegemonic cultural-resistance struggles. Farmer is careful to distinguish between each model of Black womanhood, but also she lists how they overlapped, interacted, and left some aspects of patriarchal activism untouched.”