In a recent video for a New York Times op-ed piece, the question is asked, “Why are white men poised to get rich doing the same thing African-Americans have been going to prison for?” Narrated by Jay Z and illustrated by artist and VICE contributing editor Molly Crabapple, the compelling four-minute narrative paints a crystal clear picture of why the “war on drugs” is, as Jay Z says in the video, “an epic fail,” explaining the “war” exploded the prison population by 900 percent.

In “A History of The War on Drugs: From Prohibition to Gold Rush,” author Asha Bandelle writes, “As Ms. Crabapple’s haunting images flash by, the film takes us from the Nixon administration and the Rockefeller drug laws — the draconian 1973 statutes enacted in New York that exploded the state’s prison population and ushered in a period of similar sentencing schemes for other states — through the extraordinary growth in our nation’s prison population to the emerging aboveground marijuana market of today. We learn how African-Americans can make up around 13 percent of the United States population — yet 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations, even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites.”