WITH NEARLY 3 million Twitter followers, Meek Mill has lots of fans, but one of his newest and most unlikely admirers was seated next to him in court yesterday - his etiquette instructor.
The 26-year-old rapper, whose real name is Robert Williams, was ordered in May to receive etiquette training by Judge Genece Brinkley to address how he speaks in court, his behavior outside of court and his social-media postings.
Gail Madison, head of the Madison School of Etiquette and Protocol in Huntingdon Valley, gave a glowing review of her one and only four-hour session with Williams, whom she said was a willing pupil.
"I felt very certain at the end of the four hours that he had a firm grasp of the information," Madison said, describing a list of topics, including handshaking, eye contact, dressing for success, international protocol, domestic behavior and impression management.
Madison said she and Williams talked in-depth about being responsible and separating his personal life from his public identity.
Williams, who received a certificate for the session, also received a 119-page binder that addresses how to deal with challenges specific to the music industry.
Madison's report and Williams' improved courtroom decorum - including his black suit and tie - impressed Brinkley enough to ease Williams' probation conditions. She waived a requirement for him to get a travel voucher every 30 days by approving his schedule through Nov. 18, and said he no longer has to call his probation officer every time he travels to a different state.
Brinkley complimented Williams on his demeanor and attire, and suggested additional sessions with Madison.
Assistant District Attorney Noel DeSantis insisted Williams has some rough edges that still need improving, namely returning phone calls and emails from his probation officer.
"This is not 'my dog ate my homework.' This is very important," DeSantis said. "He's not doing basic, simple things."
While giving Williams some leeway, Brinkley denied a request from his attorney Gary Silver to allow the North Philadelphia native to relocate to Miami, home of his record label, Maybach Music Group. His next scheduled court date is Jan. 31.
"I'm looking forward to getting back to seeing you every six months," Brinkley said.
Williams has been on probation since 2009, when he was paroled after spending about six months in jail for a 2008 conviction for drug dealing and gun possession.
Williams said the training "made sense" and that he learned a lot.
"I just felt like I went through it, I handled it," he said. "I just been trying to do everything I gotta do and remain straight."