Not everyone has the honor of being introduced by the former first lady Michelle Obama, but that’s what happened when Chance the Rapper got on stage to accept his award for Best New Hip Hop Artist, as well as the BET Humanitarian Award, at the BET awards in Los Angeles last weekend. He used this time to make a case for Chicago to ‘Let everybody out of jail for selling weed.’
Michelle Obama had introduced the 24-year-old artist by saying, “Chance has been taking that big, bright spotlight that follows him around and shining it on young people in our hometown of Chicago.”
After accepting his awards and making the expected noises about how Chicago could improve, Chance added, “tell[ing] everybody in this government that y’all need to let everybody out of jail for selling weed before y’all start making it legal for people to sell it and make capital off it.”
While states, like California have written bills to include past drug offenders in the running for cannabis business licenses, other state dispensary groups have lobbied to keep these “criminals” out of their industry.
Far from trying to jump on the legal Marijuana bandwagon, it should be noted that his breakthrough mixtape, 10 Day, was titled and created during a ten-day suspension from Jones College Prep (a Chicago public school) for smoking marijuana.
It’s also been noted that Chance the Rapper has consistently used his platform and newfound fame to positively influence some of the neighborhoods most affected by the war on drugs in Chicago. He’s taken Chicago public school students on field trips, distributed sleeping bag and coats to homeless populations, and recently contributed $1 million to Chicago public schools and launched the nonprofit SocialWorks to continue this work to empower the young people in the neighborhoods in which he grew up.