Rapper French Montana took on the role of Good Samaritan on Monday (08Oct18) by posting bail for an incarcerated stranger as part of a criminal justice reform campaign.
The Unforgettable hitmaker joined forces with activists at organisations including Global Citizen, Revolve Impact, The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights group, and Mass Bail Out to help raise awareness about the damaging impact America's cash bail system has on people from poverty-stricken communities, and he headed to a jail in his native Bronx, New York this week to use his own money to support the cause.
He shared an Instagram snap of himself and his entourage outside the Vernon C. Bain Center, a barge used as a jail to hold inmates off the coast of the Bronx, and explained the reason for his visit.
"Today I'm joining the @massbailout - a historic effort to free women and children who are jailed simply because they're too poor to afford bail," he captioned the image.
"Today I came home to the Bronx and posted bail for someone who should have never been caged in the first place. Thank you to @glblctzn, @rfkhumanrights, @revolveimpact all the grassroots, Black led groups who have been using bail as a tool for liberation for decades. Poverty is not a crime. Pre-trial detention is the real threat to public safety."
In a subsequent chat with TMZ.com, Montana explained the issue of criminal justice reform is one close to his heart, as many of his friends and associates have become tangled up in the prison system, with a lack of funds often at the root of their struggles.
"It's not a crime to be in poverty," he reiterated. "I feel like you should never be guilty until (proven) innocent, you should be innocent until proven guilty.
"Just because you can't afford to be out of there (jail), don't mean you should be in there (sic). A lot of people lose they (sic) families, jobs, and kids, and all kinds of things, for something petty, so we want to end the whole cash bail thing."
Montana also wants to use his fame for good, and suggested he would be getting more heavily involved in prison reform campaigns in the near future, just like Kim Kardashian.
"I wanna set an example," he said. "I know I'm not gonna make all the change, but I'm gonna spark the brain of the... (next generation of) world leaders (who are) gonna make the change (sic). I just want to make a stepping stone. I'm just starting."