'U Remind Me' Singer Usher Speaks out against Injustice of the NY Cash Bail System in New Video

Maria Varela
Sep 23, 2019
05:00 A.M.
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Usher believes cash bail "perpetuates a cycle of poverty" and is fighting to eradicate it from the justice system. The singer appeared on the new series, "ACTIVATE" to lobby for this cause.

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If Usher had his way, cash bail wouldl be eliminated from the justice system. 

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The singer has been very vocal about his fight for the eradication of cash bail which many know to be the cash deposit required in order for detainees to set themselves free while awaiting trial. 

Usher appeared on the new series, “ACTIVATE” which sheds light on the critical issues the country faces. The second episode of the National Geographic and Proctor & Gamble-produced show focused on the issue of pretrial detainees. 

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In a clip from the show, Usher explains his reasons for wanting the elimination of cash bail.

“Cash bail creates two social classes," he says. "If you have the ability to afford bail then you’ll be let out. But the young man or woman who doesn’t have the means to do so they won’t. It’s just not fair, it’s not right.”

Usher further reveals that 16,000 people are currently behind bars in New York because they can’t afford bail. As such, cash bail, according to the 40-year-old, “perpetuates a cycle of poverty.”

California has taken steps to move towards the direction of scrapping cash bail. In November 2020, voters will decide whether to eliminate it or not. 

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Apart from Usher, Common was also on the show to fight for the same cause. 

“People sitting in jail just because you don’t have the money … it’s not what justice is supposed to be,” he said. “Justice shouldn’t be based on finance, justice should be based on justice.”

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"...the US holds 25% of the world’s total number of incarcerated people. Of this number, hundreds of thousands of them have not been convicted of a crime but remain in jail because they can’t afford cash bail." 

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has expressed his intentions to end cash bail in the state in response to a 2018 petition created by Global Citizens, the producers of “ACTIVATE.” Usher is hoping the mayor will follow through with his word.

In January, the father-of-two encouraged bail reform when he tweeted,

“We need @NYSA_Majority@NYSenate@NYS_AM to pass real bail reform in NY State that 1) ends cash bail, 2) reduces the # of people in jail and eliminates racial disparities 3) honors due process 4) ensure that the state bears the costs of pretrial services."

Meanwhile, California has taken steps to move towards the direction of scrapping cash bail. In November 2020, voters will decide whether to eliminate it or not. 

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According to statistics provided by the American Civil Liberties Union, the US holds 25% of the world’s total number of incarcerated people. Of this number, hundreds of thousands of them have not been convicted of a crime but remain in jail because they can’t afford cash bail.  And they remain there for weeks or even years depending on how long the trial runs. 

This is a sad reality according to Usher. “If you are poor you are guilty until proven innocent,” he concludes.

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