From incarceration to re-fueled eminence, the last few months have been marked by decidedly positive change for Philly rapper Meek Mill, who's slated to headline the Made in America festival next week and credits Philly for his fighting spirit. Music critic Dan DeLuca sat down with Meek to discuss life after prison and the future of his career. In the case of Johnny Bobbitt, the Philly homeless man who made headlines after giving his last $20 to a woman in need of gas, the last few months have not been so positive. Once promised a new life through a $400,000 GoFundMe campaign in response to his generosity, Bobbitt is homeless and addicted to drugs once again, a court battle may be brewing over the management of the donations.
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Six months ago, Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill spent 23 hours each day in a jail cell, facing up to three and a half more years behind bars on a probation violation. Now, he's released four new songs — including Philly anthem "Milladelphia" — and is slated to headline Jay-Z's Made in America festival on the Ben Franklin Parkway over the Labor Day weekend. Every day, though, he says he worries about returning to life in an orange jumpsuit.
Inquirer music critic Dan DeLuca sat down with the rapper and newfound criminal justice reform advocate to discuss Mill's music career, Philly roots and a legal battle that's far from over.
You may remember Johnny Bobbitt, the Philadelphia homeless man who made international headlines last fall after using his last $20 to help a New Jersey woman buy gas on the side of I-95, and whose viral heartwarming generosity inspired 14,347 donors to give over $400,000 to a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of helping him find a home and financial help.
But the feel-good story has taken a turn and may be headed to court. In less than a year since the world opened its hearts and wallets to the heartwarming cause, half the donated money has been spent without a paper trail, and the New Jersey woman and her boyfriend say they are withholding the other crowd-funded $200,000 until Bobbitt — now homeless, panhandling, and addicted to drugs — can get clean and find a job.
Bobbitt, on the other hand, claims the couple has been using the funds for vacations, vehicles and gambling.
Shoddy tour buses without air-conditioning in sweltering summer heat. Teenagers forced to provide medical care in lieu of professionals on staff. A known registered sex offender coaching the young performers.
This is Pioneer, a Milwaukee-based drum and bugle corps that crosses the country each summer performing theatrical marching band numbers to devoted fans. And now — in a year that has brought unprecedented scrutiny of drum corps beginning in Allentown, Pa. — it's the latest to face questions about its leadership, and to inspire renewed criticism of the activity's governing body.
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