You may recall a few months back when Philadelphia restaurateur Saudia Schuler started a whole priorities and financial management debate on Twitter after hosting a prom send off or her son that cost $25K. The lavish affair turned into a whole event for the North Philly neighborhood as residents were treated to sights of live camels, three tons of sand and luxury cars as her Simon Gratz high school senior posed for pictures in Versace gold trim suits.
Schuler is back in headlines proving that she has love and support not just for her son but her city as well. When news broke earlier this week that Maybach music rapper Meek Mill was sentenced 2-4 years for violating his probation, the hip-hop community and fans alike took to social media and even Philadelphia’s City Hall to protest the ruling. Jay-Z and business owner Michael Rubin even launched a full-fledged campaign of billboard and buses toting the hashtag #FreeMeekMill all over the city. Philly. Com reports that Schuler is playing her part in support of the rapper by hosting “Free Meek Meal” day during which her restaurant, Country Cooking, gave away free fried fish and grits platters to the community. She advertised the event on Instagram on Tuesday to her 75,000 followers and many showed up to show their support to not just the community leader, but to the rapper who chased his dreams all the way to a record deal, a story many young people in the community can relate to and look to for inspiration.
Shuler and her employees stood out front of her restaurant dressed in black shirts with Mill’s mugshot on them. The business owner expressed she’s only showing the same support for the rapper that he showed her years ago before she became owner of Country Cooking and was selling platters out of her North Philadelphia row home:
“You know the line was down the block. Don’t play with Saud! You already know what I do.”
“But on a for-real note, Meek has been supporting me since I was in the house [selling platters]. He was writing rhymes there.”
“When he come to Philly and he do videos, he says … I don’t want nobody’s food but Saudia’s food, and he sends [his people] down here.”
But what exactly did Schuler hope to accomplish with the food giveaway? Schuler stated it was simply an opportunity to serve her community and show support for the “Litty” rapper during a difficult time where many feel he has been targeted and attacked by a discriminatory justice system. Schuler began distributing platters at 9 AM and had Meek Mill songs blaring in the background while people danced in line. She shares that she shut down her business for the day in his honor:
“Anything I do, I do it from the heart,” she told me. “I definitely love him … He really came from the struggles, like from the trenches … I closed the store down today for Meek. It’s Meek Day.”
“We gave the food out until it was out. The community came out and it showed love.”
Many celebrities have expressed their opinions that Meek Mill is being unfairly targeted. Jay-Z recently penned an op-ed for The New York Times expressing his frustration in which he states:
“What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.”
“Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime.”
Activist and athlete Colin Kaepernick also expressed his support of the rapper citing Mill’s sentencing as an example of an unbalanced criminal justice system he has been using his own platform to protest for some time: