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Meek Mill receives Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award for criminal justice reform efforts

Meek is the first rapper to be honored with the award.

Meek Mill Getty Images for TIDAL

Meek Mill has been driving criminal justice reform for years and now his efforts have been recognized by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. Founded in honor of South African politician, revolutionary and activist Nelson Mandela; the prestigious organization honored Meek with the Changemaker Humanitarian Award earlier this week. According to HipHopDX, the Philadelphia native is the first and only rapper to receive the award.

Meek announced the honor in an Instagram post on Thursday (Aug. 12) and celebrated by teasing a new “Mandela (Freestyle).”

“Blessings... I got the Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award. Thank you,” Meek captioned the post, which featured the glass trophy and a diamond-encrusted Dream Chasers chain. “Rip to the great Nelson Mandela, ‘I ain’t grow up playing ball I had a Smith & [Wesson] because where I’m from it’s very hard to turn 27’ #survivors.”

Several collaborators and friends congratulated Meek in the comments, including Slim Thug, Steven Victor, DC Young Fly, Miami Heat player P.J. Tucker and more.

Meek partnered with JAY-Z, Michael Rubin and more to launch REFORM Alliance in 2019. Since then, the nonprofit has made several strides for criminal justice and probation reform, including a law that was recently passed in Virginia. In June, Meek and REFORM celebrated after the state’s Gov. Ralph Northam passed a probation reform bill that he and the organization sponsored. According to Virginia's legislative website, the law limits “the amount of active incarceration a court can impose as a result of a revocation hearing for a probation violation,” as well as introducing other reforms.

“I’m in [a] position to do better and I know people that are [in] 100 times worse situations than me that I had no connection to and met in prison along the way,” Meek said at the bill’s signing. “With y’all support, I’ll continue to do better than I started. I got my deal in 2012 and I was able to feed my family and provide jobs.”

“Of course I’m not perfect, but being in situations like this will make me become better and speed up the process,” he continued. “I’ll make sure I’ll be able to deliver and close every bridge I can to help fix the system because I was affected by that.”

See Meek’s post about his new honor below.

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