The War on Drugs: Storytelling through celebrity and art

By now many of you may have seen this video narrated by Jay Z and illustrated by Molly Crabapple. I am such a fan of live-action illustration as a method of storytelling. Molly Crabapple’s illustrations are spot on. She is a working artist/writer who travels the world sketching what she sees. She focuses on shedding light on many of the world’s war torn areas such as Syria and the over-crowded refugee camps — putting a human face on the innocent victims of war. She has even illustrated in the courtroom at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. Her artwork for this video is contemporary and engaging. The information is easy to understand and although it is presented as an opinion piece it does contain a quick history of our country’s mis-guided war on drugs. It seems to over-simplify why our prison population has exploded over the years, since there are more factors than just the war on drugs. I find myself wondering how important it is to the message that a celebrity rapper is the narrator? I assume it reaches a wider audience because of it. Anything to shine a light on our overcrowded prisons that are filled with people of color serving mandatory sentences for non-violent crimes. I would love to pursue this method of storytelling through hand-drawn illustration.