On Friday, a few artists including: Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, Common, Janelle Monae and others met with President Barack Obama to discuss ways to continue the administration’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative and spur criminal justice reform in the United States.
The roster also included Ludacris, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Wale and DJ Khaled. According to the Associated Press, Keys in February pushed for House Speaker Paul Ryan to have the House move on criminal justice overhaul through a flirty Valentine video. Monae has pushed for voter registration; Common has publicly supported the private-sector efforts of My Brother’s Keeper; and Ludacris has started a foundation to foster economic development and teach leadership and education skills to young people.
Under the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, businesses, foundations and community groups coordinate investments to come up with or support programs that help keep young people out of the criminal justice system and improve their access to higher education. The president initiated the program in February 2014 to try to help reverse some of the challenges facing black, Hispanic and Native American boys and young men.
So far, private investors including foundations and businesses have committed more than $500 million in grants and in-kind resources and $1 billion in financing through community banks, including investments in schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms and school redesign.