President Barack Obama met privately with a gaggle of socially conscious and/or highly influential rappers and singers Friday at the White House to push for support of his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, dedicated to helping young men and boys of color.
The Hill reports that rappers Busta Rhymes, Common, J. Cole, Wale, Ludacris and Chance the Rapper attended the meeting, in addition to singers Alicia Keys and Janelle Monáe. Other outlets report that Nicki Minaj, Talib Kweli, Pusha T and Rick Ross were in attendance. Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and My Brother’s Keeper task force chairman Broderick Johnson also attended the meeting.
All of those invited have either been active in social-justice movements or have formed nonprofit organizations whose missions are in line with the goals of the organization, including Keys’ involvement with criminal justice.
“Many of these artists have lent their voices and platforms to promoting these issues,” according to a White House official. “Through their own nonprofit work or artistic commitment, many of these artists have found ways to engage on the issues of criminal-justice reform and empowering disadvantaged young people across the country.”
Although there are no official photos of the private meeting from the White House, some shots from social media made the rounds.
The president reportedly launched a nonprofit last May that will allow him to continue the work of My Brother’s Keeper once he leaves office.
The Associated Press reports that investors including foundations and businesses have committed more than $500 million to the foundation in grants and in-kind resources and $1 billion in financing through community banks, including investments in schools, mentoring programs, juvenile-justice reforms and school redesign.