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The 2018 Essence Festival took over the past weekend and issues with the criminal justice system were brought forth in a special panel between Meek Mill, Remy Ma, and journalist Lester Holt.

The trio took over the Empowerment Stage this past Saturday to speak about how their lives and careers have been impacted by the flawed criminal justice system and their beliefs toward prison reform. The two rappers shared on how their experiences, a six-year stint for Remy Ma that concluded in August of 2014 and Meek’s latest 5-month bid for an 11-year-old case, and how the reintegration of society will need assistance in the methods of post-prison rehabilitation and resources.

“People say we need to fix the system but, I think it needs to be broken and rearranged. I was there with people who don’t have the resources like me,” Meek shared on stage with the Essence crowd. “I was there with young people from college who was serving time for crimes they didn’t commit and ended up taking a deal to avoid serving hard times, but now they have a felony on their record.”


Remy shared about her current probation stating that she had to have clearance to even attend the festival and has a set curfew. “I have an 11 p.m. curfew and I have to have permission to go anywhere. Even to come to an event like this [ESSENCE Festival], I had to have permission and if my probation officer is in a bad mood or anything, she can easily shut it down and say no.”

Other questions during the conversation included advocacy from politicians for prison reform, judgment prior to facts are presented, the impact of the media and more.

Aside from their time at the Essence Festival, the two stars are making headlines for multiple reasons. Remy Ma and the renewal of her vows with husband Papoose captured Hip-Hop hearts everywhere and then announced her pregnancy. For Meek, his Legends of Summer EP is well-received among the Hip-Hop community but he is still in a battle to for a new trial.

Read the full details from their conversation with Lestor Holt here.