Meek Mill won’t be heading to a summit at the White House on prison reform after all, saying the focus on him and President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE might “take away from creating a positive result.”
The rapper, who was released from prison last month after questions were raised about his arrest and conviction for violating probation, said he was originally planning to be among the participants Friday at the discussion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. focused on federal prison reform.
But the "Ima Boss" performer’s name was not among attendees expected at the gathering in a list distributed by the White House on Friday morning.
"I was originally scheduled to be part of a panel on Prison Reform at the White House to help shed light on the issues within the system,” the rapper, who was born Robert Rihmeek Williams, told TMZ in a statement. “Unfortunately, the focus turned to the President and Myself which concerned me that it might take away from creating a positive result from today’s discussions."
"As a result,” the statement continued, “I decided not to attend so that the focus would be solely on fixing our prison system. Most importantIy I remain fully committed to improving our criminal justice system."
TMZ had reported that more than one celebrity, including fellow rapper Jay-Z, had opposed the 31-year-old rapper attending the meeting and were “urging him not to go.”
Jay-Z — who has criticized Trump before for “bringing out an ugly side of America” — reportedly told Meek Mill that meeting with the commander in chief would “be problematic” for the entertainer’s image and for the issue of prison reform itself, according to TMZ.
The White House has said the meeting, hosted by Trump and moderated by CNN’s Van Jones, will include a “diverse group of thought leaders from across the country.”
“The White House encourages Congress to act swiftly in support of this bi-partisan issue so we can ultimately reduce crime, protect our communities and save tax dollars for all Americans,” deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement about the event.
Another rapper, Kanye West, recently made headlines for his support of Trump. In an interview earlier this month, the “Gold Digger” rapper called Trump “my boy” and was eyed sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat in April.