The New York Times released a new op-ed video today titled “The War On Drugs Is An Epic Fail,” which was narrated by Jay Z. Artist and writer Molly Crabapple illustrated the piece. The Times describes the video as “part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement” as it discusses the Nixon administration and draconian Rockefeller drug laws that aimed to target and imprison young men of color. Dream Hampton, the co-author of Jay Z’s book Decoded, reached out to the Drug Policy Alliance and Revolve Impact to make the video happen. Hampton specifically wanted to illustrate the injustices described in Michelle Alexander’s excellent book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness. The Times piece ends with a call-to-action:
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.
Watch the video below.