Just weeks after a Philadelphia appeals court overturned a 2008 conviction that kept Meek Mill locked in the criminal justice system for his entire adult life, the rapper is telling his side of the story in the new Amazon Prime miniseries, Free Meek.
Born Robert Rihmeek Williams, the 32-year-old rap star was convicted for drug and gun possession when he was 19. In addition to serving a year behind bars for the charges, Mill spent the last 11 years of his life on probation and served several other stints in jail for technical probation violations. For instance, the hip-hop star was sentenced to two to four years behind bars in 2017 for a series of minor, non-violent violations that included performing a motorcycle stunt while shooting a music video. As a result, he spent five months in prison before being released in April 2018 and emerging as a face of criminal justice reform in America.
The five-part docuseries chronicles Mill’s case and how it put his budding rap career in jeopardy. The journey begins with an in-depth look at the violent, gang- and drug-ridden community he grew up in North Philadelphia. The series also shows a dramatic reenactment of the night that Mill says he was assailed and beaten by police. Although he admits that he was carrying an illegal firearm at the time, Mill asserts that he threw the gun on the ground and immediately surrendered to the cops. Yet, he says he was beaten into unconsciousness and then charged and convicted on 19 counts.
“I never thought that there would be a day that I would be doing a docuseries or even sharing my story [with] the world about my life, the trauma I went through, [and] the ups and downs that I went through with the system,” Mill told BLACK ENTERPRISE. Ultimately, the legal bout taught him to “never give up, never stop.”
A number of high-profile activists, entertainers, and allies appear in Free Meek, including executive producer Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, organizer Tamika Mallory, investigative reporter Paul Solotaroff. While advocating to vindicate Mill, they also call for a legal overhaul to free the millions of other people currently trapped in the probation system.