Meek Mill: What Will He Do With His Newfound Power?

    After months of legal maneuvering and a very highly publicized incarceration for probation violations that most people felt did not warrant the treatment he received, rap superstar Meek Mill is home, but hell never be the same Meek Mill again. 

    If he thought he was incarcerated when he was sitting in a Pennsylvania Correctional facility with thousands of politicians, athletes, entertainers, celebrities and corporate titans fighting vigorously to have him released as if he was Dr. Martin Luther King fresh off a freedom ride, then his post-jail life might just bury him in debt. 

    The young rap Don is at a crossroads. When he stepped into Wells Fargo Arena to a standing ovation and banged on that ceremonial bell three times, it signaled the beginning of a new, transformative period in his life. Will he use his newfound power to uplift the masses? Or is he indebted to another side that helped him out of a situation and is now forced to support those who still suppress his people?

    The Shadow League on Twitter

    Meek Mill rings the bell before the Sixers game. https://t.co/MSvy70Z6TP

    With Meek back on the streets and in the building, the stage was set for Philly to close out the series against Miami and advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs, which they did, 104-91 on Tuesday night. He will undoubtedly provide the same inspiration for The Sixers squad as he did for the Eagles during their Super Bowl run. 

    Mill might have entered those steel gates as a young man, but he returns as a hero and an iconic symbol of all that is right and wrong in America. A victim of crooked cops and overzealous judges with no remorse when it comes to incarcerating men of color, but at the same time Mill is living proof of what people of all ethnicities can accomplish when they share a common goal and just do what’s right. 

    CBS News on Twitter

    Rapper Meek Mill celebrated his freedom at the 76ers playoff game last night after his release from a Pennsylvania prison. He was seen getting off a helicopter. The court cited credibility problems with a key witness in his original trial 10 years ago https://t.co/Pyf1X3yMsY https://t.co/9zDqzsXXSB

    Mill has established great relationships on his journey from the streets of Philly to Nicki Minajs ex-boo to the top of the rap game, but similar to other black figures who have been thrust into the middle of a political and racial game of spades in this country,  Mill has a rare opportunity to use his heightened celebrity to address social ills that have been troubling his inner-city community of Philly in particular. 

    Meek Mill on Twitter

    To the Philly District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice. I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues.

    Mill has kissed the babies, handed out the turkeys and kept a close relationship with the streets and those disenfranchised men who look to him as light of hope and inspiration to excel in a difficult world. Now, he has the rare opportunity to transcend music with his next creative offering.

    The media publicity that his case has generated created a groundswell of support that extended to the Winter Olympics and international competitors. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft visited him in jail.  Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin went to Chester State prison and personally picked up Meek Mill on Tuesday in a private jet. 

    SportsCenter on Twitter

    Meek Mill started the day in prison. He ended it ringing in the Sixers’ series win. https://t.co/QExIPQr162

    Mill’s release was huge news and Black folks celebrated like when they announced the OJ verdict. It was that same type atmosphere as far as people of color were concerned, but the white community didn’t mind at all. Mill is all good with them too.  

    Mill has shown his power to bring people of all nationalities and races together and although his sex, money, murder rap style and East Coast committed flow has separated him from other carbon copy rappers, I would hope that his perception of his potential has changed. Chasing platinum albums and financial gain is totally acceptable, but Meek Mill now has an opportunity to change the world with his music, his words and his presence. 

    Kazeem Famuyide on Twitter

    Meek Mill is lapping the competition in hilarious “just got outta prison photos

    He can positively impact the mindset of so many lost kids who ingest his every word like grandma does scriptures from the Bible in church on Sundays. The way the world rallied behind his cause is truly a phenomenon. There have been other instances of celebrities of greater stature facing incarceration and they didnt receive the universal support that Meek did. For some reason he captivated the world and gained the sympathies of the most right wing, rap-hating corporate bosses. 

    Hopefully, at this moment, as he reflects on the past year, he recognizes the extent of his power.   

    Philadelphia 76ers on Twitter

    Good to have you back, @meekmill. See you in round 2. #PhilaUnite x #HereTheyCome

    Mill has it all now; street cred to political relevance to celebrity to musical respect. People recognize him as a soldier who rose above a corrupt judicial system and so many people of all races related to his predicament. We’ve all been railroaded in life in someway by someone, but how we rebound from those setbacks determines our true legacy.  

    Just as ESPN reporter Jemele Hills life journey changed in 2017 when she went from African-American host of a primetime, light-hearted sports show to a target of the President and a symbol of strength, fortitude and bravery for the entire African-American community and women across the world, Mill now represents the voice of the people in many ways. He has the juice. It will be interesting to see how he chooses to use it. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.