Obama hosts hip-hop stars for reform meeting

Washington, April 16 (IANS) US President Barack Obama hosted some of hip-hop’s biggest stars for a criminal justice reform meeting at the White House.

According to a White House official, Nicki Minaj, Chance the Rapper, Alicia Keys, Wale, J. Cole, and Ludacris were among the stars who sat down with Obama and some of his top advisers to talk about criminal justice reform on Friday, Time news magazine reported.

An official said the stars were singled out due to their work within communities to confront issues facing young people.

“Through their own nonprofit work or artistic commitment, many of these artists have found ways to engage on the issues of criminal justice reform and empowering disadvantaged young people across the country,” the official said.

Obama and his team have focussed on the issue of criminal justice throughout his second term.

Most recently, the president commuted the sentences of dozens of drug offenders, many of whom will be released from federal custody this summer. Obama has also made a point of championing programs that address disadvantages faced by young men and boys of colour, mainly through his “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative.

According to the White House, the celebrities Obama has convened have also been active on the subject of criminal justice.

Singer Alicia Keys has lobbied Congress to pass criminal justice reform legislation, while Chance the Rapper leads an anti-violence campaign in the president’s hometown of Chicago.

Many of the other guests, including Common, J.Cole, and Wale, encourage and support youth through programming.

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