Hip Hop mogul and self-confessed former drug dealer Jay Z (Shawn Carter) teams up with visual artist, author and fellow New Yorker Molly Crabapple to produce a short film for The New York Times highlighting why America’s longest running war: The War on Drugs has been an epic fail.
The short film, narrated by Jay Z (Shawn 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 above ground marijuana market of today.
Jay Z has always put politics into his music and no one is more qualified to talk about the subject of drugs and its affect on New Yorkers. Over the past five years, both Jay Z and Beyonce have been more political and this can be seen in their visit to Cuba, Beyonce’s half time Super Bowl performance and Jay Z’s relationship with President Obama.
Others have discussed this topic but against the backdrop of the #blacklivesmatter and #colinkaepernick protests and Trump’s presidential rhetoric, Jay Z’s words have extra meaning at a time when America needs someone to speak the inconvenient truth. If this short film moved you, take the time out to watch ‘The House I Live In’