Today, we interrupt your broadcast to bring you a documentary from The Roots’ own Dice Raw, created to accompany his upcoming album release Jimmy’s Back–a concept album thematically structured around the increasingly impossible to ignore reality of mass incarceration and recorded with input from Jill Scott, Philly community leaders and a good number of ex-felons. Best described as Dice’s response to and interpretation of Michelle Alexander‘s groundbreaking book The New Jim Crow, the doc features interviews with previously incarcerated Philly natives who want to share some their experiences and comment on what they’ve had to do to evade the system’s deliberate traps for black and brown men and boys. With the release of the short film in particular, as well as the album, Dice provides what we believe is an incredibly important platform for stories like these and an equally important voice to the current conversation about mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex. Hip-hop acts as arguably the most visible representation of the s0-called black criminality that law enforcers are trained to look for and each of the men in the clip embodies that existential struggle, playing out every day on sidewalks and expressways across America.
Joining forces with AllHipHop.com and RapGenius in the joint premiere of this short film, Okayplayer is calling on the hip-hop community to help us in creating a massive wave of online support and awareness around these critical issues–a wave that kicks off, but does not end, today. Watch the film below and scroll down to find out 5 ways you can get up and get into it.
1. Stay out of prison – Crime never pays–and street life will eventually catch up with you.
2. Be informed – There are root causes behind the unfathomable numbers of black men and women in prison – things like lack of jobs, poor education, inadequate homes and ills within the justice system are leading factors for why people commit crimes.
3. Get involved! – Hundreds of organizations and movements are popping up across the country and working on the issue of Mass Incarceration every day. Join groups like the @ACLU or @WomenOfWAMI to stay in the mix of the solution.
4. Support the Jimmy’s Back LP & documentary – Give ‘em some props, artists and musicians have always been champions for the underdog. Pre-order Dice Raw’s “Jimmy’s Back” on August 4th and look out for the official release on August 19th.
5. Love yourself – Creating change is never easy, but it starts within you. Opt for legal hustles, seek self-improvement, and work within the system. Your forefathers already paved the way!