+the news


Nicki Minaj and Alicia Keys discuss criminal justice initiative with President Obama

President Barack Obama has met with musicians including Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys and Common to discuss efforts to keep his My Brother's Keeper initiative going beyond 2017.

The leader launched the campaign, which aims to support programs that keep young people of color out of legal trouble, in 2014, and he wants to ensure it continues long after his presidency comes to an end next year (17).

He invited a number of top R&B and hip-hop acts to the White House on Friday (15Apr16) to help him tackle the issue, with guests also including Busta Rhymes, Janelle Monae, Ludacris, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Wale, and DJ Khaled.

"Today I met @barackobama," Khaled wrote on Instagram.com. "Had the biggest... talk you could imagine. Me and my brother j cole talking more wins more blessings... @barackobama thank u for the invite. I'm so inspired. BLESS UP #mybrotherskeeper..."

Details about what exactly was discussed have not been released, but Nicki also took to Instagram.com to document the event, writing, "Met with President Obama today to discuss a few things that happen to be very dear to my (heart). I am #MyBrothersKeeper".

The meeting took place months after the 33-year-old rapper praised Obama for becoming the first sitting president to speak at a prison last year (15).

"I thought it was so important when he went to prisons and spoke to people who got 20 and 30 and 40 and 50 years for drugs," she said in December (15). "There are women who are raped, people who are killed and (offenders) don't even serve 20 years. I was blown away, watching the footage of him speaking to the prisoners. I loved that he made them people again. Because we all make mistakes."

And Alicia met with lawmakers on Capitol Hill in November (15) and urged them to pass legislation which would change the way certain convicted criminals are sentenced. She also stressed the importance of how the bill pertains to juvenile offenders.

"Nowhere in the rest of the western world are juveniles being tried as adults, or even worse, sentenced to life sentences without parole," she said. "Is this who we are now? Is this who we want to be? These are just regular boys and girls, trying to find their way.

"Fourteen years old and tried as an adult. Sixteen years old and tried as an adult. We can no longer afford to be this cruel to our young... It's heartless."

Error! Unable to retrieve any Images!