A group of rappers were invited to the White House today (April 15) to discuss criminal justice reform and the My Brother’s Keeper initiative with President Barack Obama. Chance The Rapper, J. Cole, Common, Ludacris, Wale, Pusha T, Busta Rhymes, DJ Khaled and Timbaland were among the artists who got to speak with President Obama.
The roundtable discussion also included President Obama’s senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force Chair Broderick Johnson. A senior administration official spoke to Buzzfeed about the reason for this discussion with the president.
“Over the past few months, many of these artists have lent their voices and platforms to promoting these issues,” the official said. “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 artists were selected by the White House because they “found ways to engage on the issues of criminal justice reform and empowering disadvantaged young people across the country” through their art and nonprofit work.
President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative to address the opportunity gaps that boys and young men of color face and ensure that all young people have the chance to reach their potential.
“MBK is about obliterating the barriers our kids face,” Broderick Johnson said. “It’s about building strong, lasting bridges to opportunity for boys and girls, young men and young women, no matter what their background or the circumstances into which they were born. It’s about investing in what works, acting with a sense of urgency, basing strategies on data and evidence, and having the courage to call-out and tear down discrimination in every system and policy where it shows up. And, in two years we could not be more excited about the momentum, energy, and enthusiasm that has been sparked all across the country.”
Check out some videos from the rappers’ time at the White House on XXL’s Instagram.
30 Albums That Will Make You Appreciate Hip-Hop