Celebrities rally behind rapper Meek Mill for prison release


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Monday’s rally is expected to draw popular rappers Rick Ross and Lil Uzi Vert and members of the Philadelphia Eagles.

In addition, the hashtag #FreeMeekMill has trended on social media in recent weeks as prominent voices, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and entrepreneur and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, have called for his release.

Fellow artists, including husband-and-wife Jay-Z and Beyoncé, have put out songs in support of Mill.

In a telephone interview last week from prison, the rapper told NBC News’ Lester Holt that he has found a greater purpose in his prison sentence.

“I think God delivered me a job… to helping people — helping minorities that come to these situations like myself,” Mill said.

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In 2007, Mill was 19 when he was first convicted on drug and gun possession charges, and served a seven-month sentence. He hasn’t been off probation since, even as his rap career from the streets of Philadelphia took off with his 2012 debut studio album, “Dreams and Nightmares.”

Then last year, he was arrested twice: Once for allegedly popping a wheelie on a motorcycle in New York City, and then for a separate altercation at a Missouri airport. Both charges were dismissed, but he was still found in technical violation of his probation.

“It was always a thought in the back of my mind that 10 years of probation would bring me back to prison,” Mill said.

District Attorney Larry Krasner, who does not oppose Mill’s early release, told NBC News last week that there is new information that could help the rapper’s case.

An officer who arrested Mill in 2007 is on a list kept by the District Attorney’s office that names police officers with questionable reputations and are suspected of corruption.

Krasner said Mill is a poster child for changing the system: “Across the board, African-Americans are ending up with worst sentences over and over than white people.”



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