By Josephine Cruz
Despite being released from jail in April 2018 and subsequently dropping the most successful project of his career, Meek Mill isn’t free. The Philly based rapper remains trapped by a criminal justice system designed to victimize people in all of its stages, from arrest to incarceration to parole. The five-part Free Meek docuseries traces Meek’s case and career in stunning and granular detail, while at the same time highlighting the broader epidemic at hand.
The interview segments range from emotional testimonies from Meek’s family; reflections from his team at Roc Nation including Jay Z; and thorough analyses from legal experts, offering a 360-degree view of a case built on shaky evidence and the word of corrupt law enforcement. While the docuseries intersperses interviews with real-life archival footage, reenactments of events not caught on camera really bring the frustrating narrative to life.
In addition to exposing the paper-thin case brought against Meek in his original 2008 conviction, Free Meek is full of baffling moments that are maddening to watch. There’s the allegation that Justice Genece Brinkley, the chief antagonist in Meek’s story, called a private meeting with the rapper and asked him to record a remix of the Boyz II Men ballad, “On Bended Knee,” that included a shoutout to her. There’s also an unforgettable moment where the lawyer who represents Brinkley gets caught on a hot mic saying what he really thinks of the judge.
Free Meek also provides context to some of the moments that became favourite fodder for social media over the last few years, including Meek’s relationship with Nicki MInaj and his feud with Drake.
While there’s no happy ending, there is a glimmer of hope in Meek’s story. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently overturned his 2008 conviction and also his 2017 probation violation ruling, which means he will be getting a new trial on all charges after pleading guilty to a misdemeanour gun charge, ending the 12-year long case.
But despite these small wins, a sobering reality prevails: “There’s millions of people like Meek,” Jay Z says at one point in the doc. The only difference being that those millions don’t have Meek’s fame, money and resources.
Freek Meek is streaming now on Amazon Prime.Free Meek, Meek Mill