Celebrities and music artists including Kevin Hart and Jay-Z have come forward in support of Meek Mill after a judge sentenced the Philadelphia rapper Monday to two to four years in prison.
Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley handed down the sentence, which stems from a probation violation in a drug and gun case dating to 2008. Violations included failed drug tests and Mill's not following a court order restricting his travel.
Saying that Mill "thumbed [his] nose at this court," Brinkley added that the rapper's sentence would be served in state prison, and that he would be eligible for parole after two years.
Fellow Philadelphian Hart posted a message of support for Mill on Instagram, writing that "God sometimes puts the toughest battles on his strongest soldiers" and that "this storm will pass." Hart recently made headlines with a cheating and extortion scandal.
Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote that Mill's sentence was "more proof that our criminal justice system is a joke" because such a harsh sentence for "misdemeanor violations is just a waste of money."
Rap mogul Jay-Z released a similar statement, writing that Mill's sentence was "unjust and heavy-handed" in a message posted to Facebook on Monday. The rapper's Roc Nation manages Mill. Mill recently joined Jay-Z on stage when the 4:44 rapper headlined this year's Made in America festival on the Parkway.
"We will always stand by and support Meek Mill, both as he attempts to right this wrongful sentence and then in returning to his musical career," Jay-Z's statement read.
Jay-Z is an outspoken advocate of criminal justice reform, lobbying New York state, among other actions.
Mill's label Maybach Music Group posted support via Twitter and changed its profile picture to an image of Mill:
Label boss Rick Ross also posted about Mill:
Rapper T.I., who served 11 months in prison for a probation violation in 2010, also while he was at the height of his career, posted on Instagram about Mill's predicament, saying, "God places the heaviest loads on the strongest backs.":