Alicia Keys Takes On Mass Incarceration

Gregory Pace/REX Shutterstock

The concert on A&E, Shining a Light, starring Alicia Keys, comes equipped with a serious call to action.

On top of being an acclaimed singer, songwriter, mother, and marathon-runner, Alicia Keys has partnered with the #cut50 initiative to create a groundbreaking petition calling for an end to racially motivated mass incarceration.

The campaign, #wearehere 4 #JusticeReformNOW, seeks 1,000,000 signatures to empower the singer and activist to present it before Congress and the White House and urge them to pass meaningful criminal justice reforms.

Keys’s campaign is emboldened by a real sense of urgency, with aims to make these bold moves by the end of the year. In a speech delivered to Capitol Hill earlier this month, the singer emphasized the impact of mass incarceration on women and children.

It’s practically common knowledge at this point that the United States’ corporatized prison system overwhelmingly, disproportionately keeps people of color behind bars (freshly-minted National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote the be-all, end-all on this subject in The Atlantic).

But one statistic the petition mentions strikes us as especially tragic: "2.7 million American children currently have at least 1 incarcerated parent."

“Too many families — and our communities — are being destroyed by mass incarceration,” Keys said in a statement, “mothers stripped of their sons, husbands and fathers, entire neighborhoods torn apart by the war on drugs, and families struggling to stay together. We need policy reforms that can keep people out of prison who don’t need to be there, and ensure that our justice system helps to heal communities, families and individuals.”

The project began with We Are Here, the social justice movement Keys founded that aims to use culture to create meaningful change in some of the most dire issues our country and world faces today. The campaign launched with a video from a briefing held on Capitol Hill, it can be viewed on Alicia’s Facebook page.

You can read and sign the petition here.
Advertisement

More from Music

surprise number 1 @mileycyrus @billyidol #iheartfestival A video posted by Ryan Seacrest (@ryanseacrest) on Sep 23, 2016 at 8:24pm PDT Miley Cyrus...
Is anything better than plugging in your headphones, firing up your music app of choice, and jamming out to that brand-new song you're obsessed with? Don...
The Ronettes had it all wrong. The best part of breaking up is not the making up. That rarely happens, and when it does, it often leads to more breaking up...
Alice Tan Ridley's powerful voice is finally getting some time in the spotlight. After years of singing in New York City subway stations to support her ...
Have you ever thought of a celebrity — whether it's your celebrity crush, celebrity best friend, or celebrity foe — and imagined what it would be like to ...
It might be hard to believe that 2000s nostalgia is a thing. As in, people are yearning for some brightly colored, faux-leather flared pants. People miss ...
Solange is taking a page from her sister's book. The singer, designer, and younger sister of Beyoncé is teasing mysterious brand-new content on her ...
Adele is here for you, Brangelina. The singer dedicated "two hours of misery" (her words, not ours) to the divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt at her...
You probably have at least one friend who always knows the newest and most amazing music. Said friend likely has headphone hair and takes more pride in her...
Don’t lie. You’ve definitely spent a night in dancing to “Call Me Maybe” while cleaning your room. Or, at least, to Taylor Swift. Nothing has as much power...
Kanye West says some crazy stuff online, in his songs, and in interviews. At this point, it's a huge part of his ever-evolving image. West knows that the...
Halloween traditions may come and go, but a hauntingly epic playlist lasts forever. Whether you’re going as your favorite Game of Thrones character, ...
The Emmys are a night of celebration. It's an evening when standout television programs, along with their cast and crews, are honored for their ...
Think twice before you accuse Tinashe of cribbing FKA Twigs' style. The singer is armed with the perfect retort. One Tinashe fan found this out the hard ...