#EndTheWarOnDrugs Playlist: White Lines

Whenever I look at statistics about the failed War on Drugs, I always hear these lyrics from “White Lines” in my head:

A street kid gets arrested, gonna do some time

He got out three years from now just to commit more crime

A businessman is caught with 24 kilos

He’s out on bail and out of jail

And that’s the way it goes

Melle Mel and Sylvia Robinson wrote those lyrics in 1983, about a decade into the drug war, and just before the crack epidemic really hit hard. 

Yet these lyrics still apply today, highlighting how crazy it is for the U.S. to have spent 42 years, $1 trillion, and millions upon millions of devastated human lives on a racist, classist, and ineffective course of action that doesn’t make folks safer or stop drug use. 

Music is a powerful way for stories and perspectives that might otherwise be ignored to be heard, informing the way all of us think about the world and what’s happening in it.   

So it’s fitting that music stars like Ice-T, Chuck D, Missy Elliott, and Ani Difranco have joined a coalition organized by Russell Simmons and Dr. Boyce Watkins calling on President Obama to end the War on Drugs, starting with three common sense policy changes. 

Add your voice to the call.  Sign our petition in support of the coalition.  Then share in the comments below: What songs would you add to the #EndTheWarOnDrugs playlist?

Note on the video: The quality is terrible.  But apparently Spike Lee directed it when he was a student at NYU, and Laurence Fishburne plays the white-suited drug pusher.  Now you know, for your next trivia night.