The word “reform” has been coming up more and more recently, especially with the likes of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian speaking about it — but everyone knows that the movement and the fight to reform the criminal justice system, in particular its relation to BIPOC communities, has been going on for generations.
Since 2015, the TIDAL X: BROOKYN philanthropic concert has raised over $10 million dollars for social justice, education and disaster relief organizations — this year, the 100% of ticket proceeded benefitted non-profit organizations that focus on justice reform, including REFORM and Equal Justice Initiative.
This concert comes on the heels of Pedro Hernandez’ release from Rikers Island after spending over a year in jail for a crime he didn’t commit, as well as after 11-year-old Fatayi Jomoh was handcuffed for playing basketball in August, and Raheem Howard wrongfully accused of shooting an officer. Not only did the concert take a minute to honour all three of these young people, it also told the story of artists like Meek Mill, who has been facing his own issues with the law stemming from decade-old charges and probation issues.
While Meek addressed his own experience, Ava Durvernay brought out Tommie Smith, the 1968 Olympian who stood proudly alongside fellow Black athlete John Carlos raising the Black Power Salute, while Australian ally Peter Norman stood in solidarity. In a heartbreaking moment, Ms. Lauryn Hill performed in front of police surveillance footage and other social videos of several people before their wrongful deaths, beatings and incarcerations at the hands of the police. It was a somber moment that would remind us why we were here, but also what made the TIDAL X concert special.
Fortunately, the music brought it all together — the star studded event was filled with “Fuck Trump” statements, calls to vote and promises of continuing to be united while 45 is still in office. Standout moments, though? Maybe when Lil Kim joined the LOX for “Money, Power & Respect” or when Black Thought effortlessly rhymed bar after bar being joined by Black Thought. Or maybe it was when Meek Mill performed “Dreams & Nightmares”, a song I’ve personally never seen done live. Or maybe, just maybe, it was finally seeing “Uproar” performed live after a failed attempt in Atlanta.
Regardless, the time for criminal justice reform is now — it affects everyone, and this concert reminded us of that. Here’s a few snaps Tse Daniel we got of the Red Carpet before heading in to truly embrace the concert — which also asked us not to bring in cameras (boo!).
The views of our contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of Boi-1da.