7:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Meek Mill Docuseries From Jay-Z Set at Amazon
Amazon Studios is turning its lens on Meek Mill.
The retail giant and streamer is teaming with the rapper for a six-part documentary series that will follow Mill and, as Amazon describes it, his "fight for exoneration while exposing flaws in the criminal justice system."
The untitled series, which is expected to premiere in 2019, is exec produced by Jay-Z and his Roc Nation banner, Intellectual Property Corp.'s Eli Holzman and Aaron Saidman as well as investigative journalist Paul Solotaroff and documentary filmmaker Isaac Solotaroff.
The docuseries will offer viewers what Amazon says is unprecedented access to Mill's life, career and criminal justice odyssey while also demonstrating the "negative effects long tail probation is having on urban communities of color."
"I'm grateful for this unique opportunity to share my story, and I look forward to collaborating with Amazon Prime Video, Roc Nation and the Intellectual Property Corporation on this incredible series," Mill said. "Not only will this documentary give viewers an unprecedented look at my life, but it will also allow me to use my public platform to highlight the need for criminal justice reform."
Born Robert Rihmeek Williams, Mill in November was sent to county lockup for two to four years after he was captured while performing a wheelie in an Instagram video. It was the third time Judge Genece Brinkley sent the rapper to prison for violating his probation. The sentencing ignited outrage and triggered a series of investigations after many deemed it too severe. The docuseries will explore those investigations. Advocates see the sentencing as evidence of the inequalities in a criminal justice system where African-Americans are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of whites.
Amazon notes that the investigative series will follow Mill and his supporters as they attempt to uncover the different facets of corruption that kept the rapper under the thumb of Philadelphia's criminal justice system for more than a decade. It will also reveal his life post incarceration. Each hourlong episode will unravel Mill's past — from the childhood trauma that shaped him as an artist, to the vast conspiracy behind his latest imprisonment — while following present-day developments in his legal battle, personal life and music career. The series will also feature Mill's original music.
Jay-Z, who has exec produced docuseries exploring the injustices within the criminal justice system connected to cases involving Trayvon Martin and Kalief Browder, penned an opinion piece in November in The New York Times in which he voiced his support for Mill. "For about a decade, he's been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside," he wrote. "What's happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day."