Heavy in this week’s news cycles are reports of A$AP Rocky’s detention in Sweden. On July 2, the American rapper and record producer was arrested in Sweden while on tour. Reports have surfaced that the artist is being detained in deplorable conditions and that he is not being afforded due process and justice according to Swedish and international standards.
Scores of celebrities have demanded his release, and other artists have plans to boycott Sweden. As of July 11, more than 500,000 people have signed a petition to free the native New Yorker. A$AP Rocky’s situation is disheartening and his treatment troubling, but so too is the disparity between the public uproar for celebrities and the people incarcerated daily. When celebrities, the privileged, and the wealthy encounter injustice, the public is outraged and quick to take action, but when the marginalized, everyday-citizen experiences the same, they are forsaken.
A$AP Rocky’s life is valuable, as are the millions of lives currently detained and incarcerated in our country’s jails and prisons. There are those in Alabama being held in cruel and torturous conditions that should warrant similar outrage. The violence and death in Mississippi’s private prisons should provoke the same reaction. Torture inflicted on helpless people in Ohio’s jails should mobilize people to act. However, there are no petitions, celebrity voices, nor protests.
A$AP Rocky should absolutely be freed. However, the same attention given to one person should also be shown to the many lives suffering in our justice system. Society celebrates the lives that emulate our hopes and dreams, yet sometimes we fail to look around at the hopes, dreams, and potential of all lives. Regardless of innocence, privilege, or wealth, a person should be treated with dignity, and, as society, we must do better to recognize that all life is valuable.