Video Narrated by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Illustrated by Crabapple Depicts Drug War’s Devastating Impact on the Black Community from Decades of Biased Law Enforcement
NEW YORK—(ENEWSPF)—March 21, 2017. The Drug Policy Alliance received the 2017 DoGooder Best Nonprofit Video for Good Award for its video slamming the war on drugs, narrated by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and illustrated by acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple. The video first launched in The New York Times last September. The award will be presented this week at the annual Nonprofit Technology Conference, hosted by NTEN, in Washington, D.C.
The four-minute work is part history lesson and part vision statement. The video traces the drug war and its impact on the Black community from President Nixon to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to the emerging aboveground marijuana market that is poised to make legal millions for wealthy investors doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been arrested and locked up for. The New York Times also added the video to its Learning Network as a teaching tool for young people, using it as the first video of the 2016 school year for its Film Club.
“Jay Z and Molly Crabapple’s groundbreaking video has educated millions of people about the devastation wrought on the African American community because of the drug war, and raises important questions about economic equity in the emerging aboveground marijuana industry,” said asha bandele, Senior Director for Grants, Partnerships and Special Projects at the Drug Policy Alliance. “We thank the DoGooder Awards for selecting our video as a finalist, our supporters who voted for us, and special thanks to Jay Z, Molly Crabapple, and dream hampton for their contributions to this deservedly award-winning video.”
The video generated an avalanche of media attention, getting covered in thousands of stories from the Los Angeles Times to Entertainment Weekly.
The DoGooder National Awards attract thousands of participants from across the globe who support social causes and the compelling stories of people making change in the world.
New York Times
Jay Z: ‘The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail,’ By: ASHA BANDELE, SEPT. 15, 2016
Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?
By: JAY Z, MOLLY CRABAPPLE, JIM BATT and KIM BOEKBINDER on Publish Date September 15, 2016.
This short film, narrated by Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and featuring the artwork of Molly Crabapple, is part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement. As Ms. Crabapple’s haunting images flash by, the film takes us from the Nixon administration and the Rockefeller drug laws — the draconian 1973 statutes enacted in New York that exploded the state’s prison population and ushered in a period of similar sentencing schemes for other states — through the extraordinary growth in our nation’s prison population to the emerging aboveground marijuana market of today. We learn how African-Americans can make up around 13 percent of the United States population — yet 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations, even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites.
The project came about when, last year, Dream Hampton, the filmmaker and a co-author of Jay Z’s book “Decoded,” approached the Drug Policy Alliance about collaborating with Revolve Impact, the social impact agency she works with. Revolve Impact connects artists and influencers to community organizers, and with marijuana legalization taking hold across the nation — and about to be considered in her own state, California — Ms. Hampton wanted to tackle the contradiction raised by Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” in 2014: Why were white men poised to get rich doing the very same thing that African-American boys and men had long been going to prison for? Ms. Hampton proposed creating an animated video that the D.P.A. would produce about the impact of the drug war in African-American communities.
Policy makers are joining advocates in demanding an end to biased policing and mass incarceration, and in November, Californians specifically have the opportunity to vote Yes on Prop 64, the most racial-justice-oriented marijuana legalization measure ever. Prop 64 would reduce (and in many cases eliminate) criminal penalties for marijuana offenses, and it’s retroactive — people sitting in prison for low-level marijuana offenses would be released and have their records expunged. In addition, Prop 64 would drive millions of dollars in direct funding and investments to those communities most harmed by the criminal justice system.
Jay Z and Molly Crabapple are inviting us all to stand on the right side of history.
Asha Bandele (@ashabandele) is a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance.
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Jay Z declares drug war an ‘epic fail’ in short film, Sep. 15, 2016
NY Daily News
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