If you look at his rap sheet, Scrapp Deleon does not come across as a model citizen. There’s the drug trafficking conviction permanently on his record along with the sensational television show that depicts him as a womanizer. Nevertheless, he honestly left everyone on the set of his photo shoot and on-camera interview, pleasantly surprised. Expecting a reality show cliche, we met with a conscious and humble human someone who has progressive thoughts regarding the system that incarcerated him for three years.
Scrapp, who was sentenced to 5 years in prison and 15 years on probation, looked slightly reluctant to revisit the topic of his sentencing. A sentencing that millions were privy to, as the experience played out on Deleon’s premiere season of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta. However, after his shoot with celebrity photographer Nathan Pearcy, the former long-haired personality seemed okay with letting his guard down. He did so while speaking on his experiences up to and during his time behind bars.
Being family oriented there is no doubt that the time Scrapp spent in jail tore apart the lives of his mother, brother, and most importantly young children. Nevertheless, Scrapp pushed through his sentence. In doing so, he seemingly gained some insight that shaped his actions once released. We even got a chance to speak with him about the moves that other influential members of the hip hop community were making; all forward motions to loosen the grip that the prison system has on black men and women in this country.
When he says “I may take this one” Scrapp is referring to the partnership that he has formed with rapper T.I., and Pastor Dr. Jamal Bryant of New Birth Missionary. Together these three men paid the bail of 23 nonviolent offenders just in time for Easter. Sixteen men and seven women were released out of suburban Atlanta jails in the local counties of Fulton, DeKalb, Rockdale, and Gwinnett. This move signifies Deleon’s commitment to his people and his own reform.
Similar to Meek Mill, who is also working to change the system through REFORM Alliance, an organization that aims to reduce the number of people serving unjust parole and probation sentences. Scrapp is joining forces on the other end of the spectrum with a “Bail Out” program, getting men and women out of jail who may have ended up serving longer sentences due to their inability to afford their set bail. In fact, the New Birth Missionary church started to raise money for this “Bail Out” initiative for Lent. The goal started with a mission to raise $40,000 but achieved funds totaling to $120,000 in less than 40 days.
With influential people like Scrapp Deleon and those in the “Bail Out” program, REFORM, and even the All Money In crew, led by The Late, Great Nipssey Hussle and his brother Blacc Sam, (the west coast based brand employs convicted felons straight out of prison.) It is promising to think that the hip-hop community could be bucking the system that has entrapped its most significant and most loyal supporters and contributors.
For so long the black community has suffered more severe consequences than our white counterparts. Finally, we are leaning on each other to rise above that inequity and climb out of the barrel that we were trained to pull each other back down.
Interview and Article by: Chay Rodriguez
VIdeo by: Iconofilm