Jay Z lends his wise voice to a New York Times op-ed short film titled A History of the War on Drugs: From Prohibition to Gold Rush. It details the ongoing War on Drugs, and breaks down how the Reagan-era campaign became destructive to an onslaught of black Americans. The rapper, who has never been afraid to share his drug dealing past, uses his knowledge to shed historical light on the issue.
Telling his story alongside gripping artwork from Molly Crabapple, Jay Z (who wrote the script) comments on the government's post-Nixon mindset:
"Drugs were bad, fried your brain, and drug dealers were monsters, the sole reason neighborhoods and major cities were failing. No one wanted to talk about Reaganomics and the ending of social safety nets. The defunding of schools and the loss of jobs in cities across America. Young men like me who hustled became the sole villain and drug addicts lacked moral fortitude."
The rap mogul continues to give a history lesson, revealing the U.S. prison population is larger than countries like Cuba and China and how black people were arrested more than whites. “Crack is still talked about as a black problem,” Jay Z says. “The NYPD raided our Brooklyn neighborhoods while Manhattan bankers openly used drugs with impunity.”
He then concludes with this: “The War on Drugs is an epic fail." Watch the video, produced in collaboration with Revolve Impact and the Drug Policy Alliance, above.