Jay Z's New Film About The War On Drugs Is So Honest, It'll Give You Chills


Shawn Carter, aka Jay Z, just released a powerful video on what an "epic fail" the War on Drugs has been.

The video, which is narrated by Jay Z and features artwork from Molly Crabapple, is a captivating look at the ways in which the overtly biased policies surrounding the drug war have done far more harm than good.

As Jay Z explains, the War on Drugs began under President Nixon in 1971 but was escalated by President Reagan, who made a concerted effort to demonize drug dealers while ignoring many of the core issues that might drive young people with a lack of opportunities toward such activities.

In Jay Z's words,

Jay Z also pointed out the fact the US, which prides itself on its "freedom," has the highest incarceration rate in the world, which is directly linked to the drug war,

The video also highlights the disproportionate impact mandatory minimum sentences have had on minorities, and the racism embedded in the origin and application of America's drug laws.

While black people make up roughly 13 percent of the US population, they are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites and comprise 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations — even though white people and black people use drugs at similar rates.

Today, there are over 2.3 million people incarcerated in the US, and nearly 1 million are black, according to the NAACP. Roughly 21 percent of all those behind bars in America are there for drug offenses.

The US spends roughly $80 billion per year maintaining this system of mass incarceration, and it's wasted over $1 trillion on the War on Drugs across over four decades.

Meanwhile, in places like Colorado, where marijuana has been legalized, entrepreneurs are making a killing while people in other states are still being incarcerated for marijuana-related offenses. In the video, Jay Z points out how illogical this is and the imminent need for change,

On this subject, it's worth nothing black people and white people use marijuana at roughly the same rate, but black people are nearly four times more likely to be arrested for it.

Jay Z is right. It's long past time for America to rethink its approach to drugs.

Watch Jay Z's new video above.

Citations: NY Times, NAACP, Drug Policy, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Fortune, NY Times, Vox