Before stepping down, former President Donald Trump embarked on a wave of grace and some of the recipients were from the hip-hop world.
Presidential pardons were granted to Trump adviser Steve Bannon, former Republican National Committee chairman Elliott Broidy, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Ken Kurson.
Here are four hip-hop figures who were pardoned by Trump as he stepped down.
1. Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez
Desiree Perez was arrested in 1994 for drug possession and in 1998 for robbery and possession of a firearm. She later became a government informant and helped the Drug Enforcement Administration shut down massive drug trafficking in Puerto Rico and Colombia.
In 2019, she was named CEO of Roc Nation, founded by artist turned mogul Jay-Z. Roc Nation is home to artists such as Rihanna, Shakira, Alicia Keys, Megan Thee Stallion, Meek Mill and DJ Khaled.
âMs. Perez was involved in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics,â according to a White House statement referring to her arrest for intent to distribute 35 kilograms of cocaine. âSince her conviction, Ms. Perez has taken full responsibility for her actions and changed her life. She held a paid job and championed criminal justice reform in her community. “
In a statement following his forgiveness, Perez said, âI am grateful that I received a forgiveness and officially closed this chapter of my life in the eyes of the law. I have taken full responsibility for my mistakes 25 years ago, but I am also extremely proud of my personal growth, persistence and accomplishments since then. This forgiveness reinforces my lifelong commitment to advocate for criminal justice reform and social justice initiatives.
2. Lil Wayne
Shortly after Lil Wayne pleaded guilty in federal district court in December to illegal possession of a loaded, gold-plated handgun while traveling to Florida on a private plane in 2019, there was a buzz. that the hip-hop star would get a forgiveness from Trump.
Wayne was facing up to 10 years on a federal firearms charge, but he seemed to have a friend in high places: Trump.
âIn a blatant attempt, if a questionable bid for black votes, Trump posed for a photoshoot with Wayne during the final days of the presidential campaign,â Variety reported. Soon after, the Trump administration prepared to pardon Wayne, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
Howard Srebnick, an attorney who represented Lil Wayne in his criminal case, released a statement saying, “A pardon for Mr. Carter is consistent with the opinions of many legal scholars – including Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett – that to prosecute a nonviolent citizen for simply owning a gun violates the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Lil Wayne’s request for pardon was supported by letters from NFL Hall of Fame member Deion Sanders and Brett Berish, CEO of a brand of sparkling wine, according to the White House, who also spoke of the Wayne’s charitable donations, The New York Times reported.
3. Kodak Black
Florida hip-hop artist Kodak Black, who in 2019 was sentenced to 46 months in prison on federal weapons charges. was also on Trump’s pardon list. Black admitted to lying on background check forms while purchasing multiple guns. Black has served his sentence for this offense. Two of the guns were later discovered by police at crime scenes, including one with Black’s fingerprints and a live bullet in the chamber of a gun that had been used to shoot a “rival rap artist,” according to the New York Times.
The prospect of a pardon prompted Kodak Black to tweet that he would donate $ 1 million to charity if the president released him. The artist then deleted the tweet.
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4. Michael ‘Harry O’ Harris, co-founder of Death Row Records
Death Row Records co-founder Michael “Harry O” Harris was one of the first to be pardoned by Trump before Trump left the White House. Harris, 60, had been in prison for almost 30 years for attempted murder, drug trafficking and kidnapping. Harris helped fund and found Death Row Records with Suge Knight although he has been in prison since 1988.
Knight himself is currently in jail after pleading guilty to a charge of intentional homicide resulting from a 2015 incident in which he ran over a man with his car, Variety reported.
Snoop Dogg, a former death row artist, lobbied for Harris’ release, according to the New York Post.