Meek Mill has been a strong force behind criminal justice reform for years, and the Nelson Mandela Foundation has finally recognized his work. The distinguished organization, which was founded in honor of South African statesman, revolutionary, and activist Nelson Mandela, presented Meek with the Changemaker Humanitarian Award earlier this week. The Philadelphia native is the first and only rapper to get the accolade, according to HipHopDX.
Meek Mill revealed the accolade in an Instagram post on Thursday (Aug. 12), and he celebrated by revealing a new song called “Mandela (Freestyle).”
“Blessings… The Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award was given to me. Thank you,” Meek wrote beside a photo of the glass trophy and a Dream Chasers chain adorned with diamonds. “To quote Nelson Mandela, ‘I didn’t grow up playing ball, but I had a Smith & [Wesson] since it’s very hard to turn 27 where I come from.’ #survivors.”
Slim Thug, Steven Victor, DC Young Fly, Miami Heat player P.J. Tucker, and other collaborators and friends congratulated Meek in the comments. In 2019, Meek launched REFORM Alliance with JAY-Z, Michael Rubin, and others. Since then, the organization has made significant progress in criminal justice and probation reform, including the passage of a statute in Virginia. Meek and REFORM celebrated in June after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a probation reform law that he and the organization had championed. The measure, according to Virginia’s legislative website, restricts “the amount of active incarceration a court can impose as a consequence of a revocation hearing for a probation violation,” among other reforms.
Meek remarked during the bill’s signing, “I’m in a position to do better, and I know folks who are in 100 times worse positions than me who I had no relationship to and met in prison along the way.” “With your help, I’ll keep doing better than I did before. I was able to feed my family and provide work once I received my agreement in 2012.”
“Of course, I’m not perfect,” he continued, “but being in situations like this will force me to improve and accelerate the process.” “Because I was touched by it, I’ll make sure I can deliver and close every bridge I can to assist in restoring the system.”