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Obama, rappers meet on criminal justice reform

President Obama is meeting with a group of music stars on Friday to discuss his push for criminal justice reform and his initiaitve dedicated to helping young men and boys of color.

Rappers Busta Rhymes, Common, J. Cole, Wale, Ludacris and Chance the Rapper are all attending the meeting, according to a senior administration official. 

{mosads}The group also includes Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae. 

“Many of these artists have lent their voices and platforms to promoting these issues,” the official said. “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.”

The meeting comes as Obama is trying to beef up support for the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, which is designed to help young African-Americans get an education, college degree and job training. 

Obama and his supporters launched a nonprofit group last May that will allow the president to continue the work once he leaves office. 

The president has also tried to keep momentum behind a bipartisan coalition looking to pass legislation in Congress that would reduce prison sentences for many non-violent drug offenders.

The White House sees the recording artists as allies who can help raise awareness on both issue during Obama’s final year in office. 

Keys recently launched an initiative to push lawmakers to take up the criminal justice reform bill. She cut a video in February calling on Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to pass the legislation. 

Ludacris has set up a foundation aimed at promoting leadership and education for young people. 

Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and My Brother’s Keeper task force chairman Broderick Johnson also attended the meeting. 

It’s the second time in recent months Obama has invited rap stars to the White House for a private meeting. Last fall, the president met with Kendrick Lamar in the Oval Office. 

Lamar later cut a public service announcement to promote the My Brother’s Keeper initiative. 

Tags My Brother's Keeper Paul Ryan

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