Obama Meets With Musicians On My Brother’s Keeper

Musicians Alicia Keys, Nicki Minaj, Busta Rhymes, Common, Janelle Monae and others met Friday with President Barack Obama to discuss ways to continue the administration’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative and spur criminal justice reform in the United States.

The musicians who met with Obama have been working on efforts to help younger generations of blacks and other minorities stay on the right path. The roster also included Ludacris, Chance the Rapper, J. Cole, Wale and DJ Khaled.

Photo: AP Photo / Ted S. Warren
Starbucks annual shareholders meeting, Seattle, Wash.

Keys in February pushed for House Speaker Paul Ryan to have the House move on criminal justice overhaul through a flirty Valentine video. Monae has pushed for voter registration; Common has publicly supported the private-sector efforts of My Brother’s Keeper; and Ludacris has started a foundation to foster economic development and teach leadership and education skills to young people.

The meeting at the White House complex Friday afternoon was not announced by the administration, but was confirmed to The Associated Press. Obama was joined at the meeting by Broderick Johnson, chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Under the My Brother’s Keeper initiative, businesses, foundations and community groups coordinate investments to come up with or support programs that help keep young people out of the criminal justice system and improve their access to higher education. The president initiated the program in February 2014 to try to help reverse some of the challenges facing black, Hispanic and Native American boys and young men.

So far, private investors including foundations and businesses have committed more than $500 million in grants and in-kind resources and $1 billion in financing through community banks, including investments in schools, mentoring programs, juvenile justice reforms and school redesign.