Meek Mill isn't a victim of the criminal justice system, but of his own ego.
The homegrown rap star faces two to four years in state prison because he didn't follow the rules. Excessive hubris clouded his judgment and made him feel above the law and the terms of his probation.
He did exactly what he wanted — popped wheelies on his dirt bike in Manhattan, got into a fight at an airport, abused Percocet, and allowed himself to be booked for concerts outside of the area against the judge's orders. Now we're supposed to blame the system for his downfall? It's not that simple.
He had plenty of chances and blew them all. So many good people stepped forward to help him get his life on track. Among them: the Rev. Damon B. Jones Sr., senior pastor of Bible Way Baptist Church in West Philly; Chad Dion Lassiter, president of Black Men at Penn School of Social Work Inc.; and Howard Brown, a Goldman Sachs alum who heads his own finance firm, Brown Holdings International.
Eventually, though, Judge Genece Brinkley got fed up and slammed the book at Mill, ordering him back to prison.
That's an awfully harsh price to pay for his 2008 drug and gun case that dragged on and on. Celebrities from Jay-Z to Kevin Hart have spoken out in solidarity and fans have started a #freemeekmill hashtag to galvanize support for extricating Mill from a system that ensnares far too many black men.
But what many don't seem to realize is that Brinkley is African American herself. She gave Mill all kinds of opportunities before she snapped on Monday.
"I gave you break after break, and you basically just thumbed your nose at this court," Brinkley said from the bench.
The internet is dragging the ruling and the judge too.
"This judge is obsessed with Meek Mill and Robert Williams [Mill's given name] and that in and of itself goes against the supposed unbiased judicial system," said Lassiter, also a former member of the board of trustees of the Philadelphia Prison System.
I have to confess that my eyebrows have been way up about how Brinkley said she visited the Broad Street Ministry in Philadelphia after ordering Mill to feed the homeless at the church as community service. She discovered him sorting clothing instead of doing exactly as she'd instructed.
He should have just done what she told him to do.
If he had done that from the beginning, he wouldn't be in this mess. With his kind of money, Mill could have surrounded himself with a team of legal advisers to ensure that he never overstepped the terms of his probation. He shouldn't have allowed handlers to book concerts outside the area or make any other moves before he cleared it. Instead, he insisted on doing things his way, and the judge wasn't having it. It was going to be her way — not his. Brinkley made that clear years ago.
Mill's attorney says he'll appeal. But for now, to borrow from Mill's mixtapes: Freedom is just a dream he'll have to chase.