Jay Z Calls The War on Drugs an ‘Epic Fail’ in Illustrated Op-Ed

Seth Kelley

Jay Z and writer-illustrator Molly Crabapple teamed up with the New York Times to condemn the War on Drugs in the form of an op-ed video that is part history lesson, part call to action.

Starting with the 1971 Nixon administration and going up to present-day Colorado’s legalization of marijuana, Jay Z (Shawn Carter) explains the inequality and contradictions inherent in America’s relationship with policing drug use with statistics and observation of political movements and his own life.

“Rates of drug use are as high as they were when Nixon declared this so-called war in 1971,” Carter says. “45 years later, it’s time to rethink our policies and laws. The war on drugs is an epic fail,” he concludes.

According the description given by the New York Times, the multimedia project was initiated by Dream Hampton, the filmmaker and a co-author of Jay Z’s book “Decoded.” Hampton is part of a group called Revolve Impact that “connects artists and influencers to community organizers.” She wanted to make a project inspired by Michelle Alexander, the author of “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.” In the book, the author asks, “Why were white men poised to get rich doing the very same thing that African-American boys and men had long been going to prison for?”

The project was written and narrated by Carter, illustrated by Crabapple, produced and directed by Jim Batt and Kim Boekbinder with sound design by Boekbinder. Hampton is also credited as a producer.

Watch the video below:

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