With the total number of COVID-19 cases in the US nearing 300,000, the need for surgical masks and other medical supplies is higher than ever. Recently, some celebrities have taked the initiative to purchase masks and have them made to be donated to various hospitals. Earlier this week, DJ Khaled and his philanthropic foundation We The Best partnered with Direct Relief and Simplehuman to purchase and donate 100,000 masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers in Miami and New York hospitals. Last week, Future announced that he would also be donating masks through a partnership between his non-profit, FreeWishes Foundation, and Atlanta Sewing Style. Now, Jay-Z and Meek Mill have announced their own plans to donate masks, but this time, to prisons that are in need of them.
Working through their criminal reform organization, Reform Alliance, Jay-Z and Meek Mill announced they’ll donate 100,000 surgical masks to various prisons across the country. News of their donation arrived just a day after rapper YNW Melly revealed he had tested positive for the virus while awaiting his trial in a South Florida jail.
According to CBS News, of the 100,000 masks, the Reform Alliance will send 40,000 masks to the Tennessee Department of Corrections, 5,000 to Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman, 50,000 to Rikers Island jail in New York City — which had 650 inmates released from the prison to fight overcrowding according to New York City mayor Bill De Blasio — and an additional 2,500 masks to a Rikers medical facility.
Speaking on the donations to CBS News, Jessica Jackson, the chief advocacy officer at Reform Alliance said, “We’re really worried about the number of people coming in and out of the facility, and the fact that the people living there might be sitting ducks during this pandemic… We’re still looking at jail and prison populations that are completely overcrowded to dangerous levels when you’re looking at a pandemic like this head-on.
“This is a movement,” she said. “But we need all of the voices we can get.”
Meek Mill is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.