The New York Times published a harsh critique of the war of drugs in an unusual form this morning—a denunciation from Jay Z, done on video.
The innovative clip sees the rap star and businessman running through the bleak history of the drug war, as artist Mary Crabapple, in fast-motion, draws intricate portraits of the war’s many victims.
“Even though white people used and sold crack more than black people, somehow it was black people who went to prison,” Jay Z says early on. “… The NYPD raided out Brooklyn neighborhoods while Manhattan bankers openly used coke with impunity.”
Listen carefully and you can even hear a passing reference to Jay Z’s own experience in the drug trade.
Indeed, the most pointed part is when Jay Z says, “There’s no compassionate language about drug dealers – unless of course we’re talking about places like Colorado, whose state economy got a huge boost from the above-ground marijuana industry.”
Our only criticism: The final frame—a decidedly un-Mount Rushmore-worthy portrait of the faces of the presidents who have pursued the drug war—lacks the presence of Barack Obama, who hasn’t done enough to ramp down the ills Jay Z speaks about.
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