/  01.20.2021

In the final hours of his presidency, Donald Trump commuted 70 prison sentences and pardoned 73 people, one of whom was Roc Nation CEO Desiree Perez. Decades ago, the music executive and JAY-Z’s right-hand woman was arrested on drug, firearm and grand larceny charges, but received an official pardon on Tuesday night (Jan. 19).

“Ms. Perez was involved in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics. Since her conviction, Ms. Perez has taken full accountability for her actions and has turned her life around,” the White House wrote in a notice of Perez’s pardon. “She has been gainfully employed and has been an advocate for criminal justice reform in her community.”

Perez has been a pillar in the music industry and JAY-Z’s Roc Nation for the past 10 years, and was appointed from COO to CEO at the company in 2019. That year, she was also honored as the Executive of the Year at Billboard’s annual Women in Music event. Perez leads Roc Nation’s many channels, including music, publishing, touring, TV and film, activism and more.

Last night, Trump also pardoned his former advisor Steve Bannon, Death Row Records co-founder Michael “Harry-O” Harris, former mayor of Detroit Kwame Kilpatrick and more. Two of his most notable pardons turned out to be Lil Wayne and Kodak Black, both of whom endorsed the president for reelection last year.

“Just had a great meeting with [Trump], besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to give the community real ownership,” Wayne tweeted alongside a photo with Trump in October. “He listened to what we had to say today and assured he will and can get it done.”

Kodak had long been campaigning for a pardon from the president, pledging to donate $1 million to charity if Trump pardoned his federal weapons charges.

“President Trump and his administration have been tireless advocates on behalf of the African-American community,” Kodak’s lawyer Bradford Cohen said to XXL. “These pardons is [sic] a perfect example of this administration following up on its reforms and commitments. Thank you to President Trump for his advocacy and dedication to justice reform.”


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