The following is a developing story. Please check back for ongoing updates.
Meek Mill has been denied bail by a tough Philadelphia court judge this morning. The development means that the rapper will spend the holidays in prison while awaiting sentencing. Beyond that, the rapper may wait months as the court system wades through a backlog cases.
As a result, Meek Mill will be unable to record, tour, or advance his career during this period. Earlier, the rapper decried the parole system for hampering his ability to earn a living from his music.
That double-whammy follows a string parole violations, all stemming from a weapons charge from 2006.
That’s when Meek Mill (real name: Robert Rihmeek Williams) was charged with unlawful gun and drug possession. The charges occurred while the rapper was struggling in his native South Philadelphia neighborhood. That misstep has effectively kept Meek Mill in the US prison system for 11 years, with endless parole issues and resulting incarcerations.
+ #FreeMeekMill: Massive ‘Rally for Meek’ Protest Floods the Streets Philadelphia
Last month, rapper Rick Ross was joined by a cast celebrities to denounce Meek Mill’s sentencing. Specifically, a 2-4 year jail sentence has been viewed as needlessly draconian. The angry protest happened outside Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Center, with calls for justice system reform.
Later, rapper Jay-Z joined the fray with an eloquent New York Times op-ed. In the piece, the rapper denounced an overbearing parole system that perpetuates poverty and destabilizes the Black community. “For about a decade, Meek Mill has been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside,” Jay-Z wrote.
“What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds thousands black people every day.”
That petition was denied, handing the decision back to Judge Genece Brinkley for ruling. Brinkley, viewing Mill as a serious ‘flight risk’ and danger to the community, refused to grant the bail request.
That is almost certain to energize more protests, though it’s unclear if any this is helping the rapper. On the other side, critics point to Meek Mill’s endless violations and flouting the law, all which makes him a seriously flawed poster child for reform.