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This year, the Super Bowl halftime stage was occupied by Latin music legends Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. But, incontrovertibly, the balmy atmosphere in Miami, Florida was commandeered by two entities: hip hop and Kobe Bryant.
Super Bowl LIV marks the first Super Bowl since JAY-Z and Roc Nation Sports controversially partnered with the NFL on entertainment and social justice initiatives, embroiling the Teflon Hov in a bad press deluge. It was also one of the first Super Bowl since Meek Mill announced REFORM Alliance, a non-profit organization co-founded by himself, Philadelphia Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin, JAY-Z, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, which fights for prison reform. The feelings in the air were as mixed as the grey sky over the festivities formed. There was also solidarity in the remembrance of the late Kobe Bryant, who passed away the prior Sunday.
Video surfaced of Meek’s Jan. 30 performance at The Catalina Hotel & Beach Club, where simply invoking the name of Kobe Bryant could transmogrify a convivial club into a somber one fit for a funeral. In an exclusive interview with REVOLT, Meek reflected on the feelings he grappled with since Kobe’s death.
“It’s still surreal because we lost a real one in Kobe. It’s a devastating loss for a lot of us who grew up watching him,” Meek told us.
Meek’s relationship with the Super Bowl has been bittersweet over the last few years. In 2018, his hometown Philadelphia Eagles claimed their first Super Bowl win in history. The team even made the rapper’s iconic “Dreams & Nightmares (Intro)” as their theme song, allowing Meek to experience a career-high while locked behind bars, as he served five months out of his controversial two-to-four-year prison sentence.
Kobe’s death weighed heavy on Meek’s heart at the 2020 Super Bowl. But, he was able to also enjoy the splendor of his success at the BACARDI LIV 305 party.
“Performing…was incredible. So, if timing and scheduling work out, I’d definitely want to take the stage for Bacardi again,” he added.
Last summer, Meek and the REFORM Alliance co-sponsored The Smart Probation & Parole Act (HB1555), a bill designed to have the sentence for probation for misdemeanors and felony convictions limited to a maximum of two years and five years, respectively. As Meek explained, the first year of the non-profit has been a success.
“We started the REFORM Alliance in January 2019, so we’ve already hit the one-year mark and I’m proud of our organization’s growth,” Meek explained. “We’re working hard to pass probation reform bills at the state level and eliminate the barriers that prevent people from being able to re-enter society and provide for their loved ones. We want to put people in a position to succeed.”
The dirt bike drama Charm City Kings, which Meek has a starring role in, recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and is set to hit theaters in April. Meek has also been hinting at new music, tweeting “1 album way from really shaking shit up …. and ima prove myself again!” No matter what, it’s hard to imagine the rest of Meek’s 2020 not being shaped by greatness — whether that’s dropping heat, making movie magic or changing the lives of convicts of non-violent crimes for the better.