Meek Mill has opted not to participate in a prison reform panel with President Donald Trump that will take place Friday at the White House.
“I was originally scheduled to be part of a panel on prison reform at the White House to help shed light on the issues within the system,” the rapper said in a statement to Rolling Stone.
“Unfortunately, the focus turned to the President and myself, which concerned me that it might take away from creating a positive result from today’s discussions. As a result, I decided not to attend so that the focus would be solely on fixing our prison system.”
While Meek Mill worried that he would become a distraction, TMZ reports that Jay-Z, who lobbied for Meek Mill’s prison release, called the rapper Thursday night and recommended that he not meet with President Trump. Meek Mill received similar phone calls from other high-profile African Americans.
“Most importantly I remain fully committed to improving our criminal justice system,” Meek Mill added. The rapper has a Jay-Z-produced docuseries on the flawed criminal justice system in the works.
Van Jones is set to moderate the Prison Reform Summit, with over 100 activists, policymakers and experts in attendance, USA Today reports.
“As you know, I’m on the left side of Pluto,” Jones said. “But one thing I know is that it’s one of these strange issues that the more people engage on it, the more stupidity they see in the system. The more we can get the Trump White House and the Republican party to engage in this issue at all, the more progress we’ll make, and then I think more reform leads to more reform.”