Fat Joe Joins Kamala Harris for White House Discussion on Easing Marijuana Penalties

Fat Joe is fighting to ease marijuana penalties…

The 53-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American rapper joined Vice President Kamala Harris to lead a White House discussion on Friday, March 15, on easing marijuana penalties, with Harris saying it’s “absurd” that the federal government classifies marijuana as more dangerous than fentanyl, the synthetic opioid blamed for tens of thousands of deaths annually the United States.

Fat JoeHarris, a former state prosecutor in California, also criticized the federal classification of cannabis as “patently unfair.” The government currently is reviewing how it classifies marijuana, and Harris urged that the process be wrapped up as quickly as possible. 

Fat Joe, a Grammy-nominated artist and philanthropist whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, moderated a subsequent closed-door discussion that included Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and individuals who received pardons for prior marijuana convictions.

President Joe Biden has issued pardons to thousands of people for federal marijuana possession and commuted long sentences handed down for nonviolent drug offenses. In 2022, he urged governors to pardon state offenses. Beshear then invited people convicted of simple marijuana possession to apply for pardons in Kentucky. Biden launched the process to review how marijuana is classified in 2022.

A full seven in 10 U.S. adults favor legalizing marijuana, according to Gallup polling. Support for legalization is closer to eight in 10 among 18- to 34-year-olds, a demographic whose support for Biden, who is seeking reelection, has softened since he took office.

“I cannot emphasize enough that they need to get to it as quickly as possible and we need to have a resolution based on their findings and their assessment,” Harris said of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice, which are handling the review.

“But this issue is stark when one considers the fact that on the schedule currently marijuana is considered as dangerous as heroin,” she said during the public portion of the meeting. “Marijuana is considered as dangerous as heroin and more dangerous than fentanyl, which is absurd. Not to mention patently unfair.”

“So I’m sure DEA is working as quickly as possible and will continue to do so and we look forward to the product of their work,” the vice president said, referring to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid blamed for tens of thousands of deaths annually in America.

U.S. regulators are studying reclassifying marijuana shifting it from a drug that has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” known as “Schedule I,” to the less tightly regulated “Schedule III.”

Biden mentioned the marijuana classification review during his State of the Union address earlier this month. He said during a campaign appearance in Milwaukee this week that “no one should be jailed for marijuana.”

“If you’re just using, you should have that wiped off your record,” Biden said.

Cartagena opened the roundtable by saying he’s hot on the issue of price transparency in health care “but, today, when the vice president calls me, I stop everything.”

He got a little ahead of himself when he proceeded to dismiss journalists so the closed-door discussion could begin, prompting Harris to tell him to “hold on” because she had a statement to make, too.

Fat Joe Partnering with Power to the Patients to Advocate for Price Transparency in Healthcare

Fat Joe is advocating for more transparency in healthcare…

53-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American rapper is teaming up with Jelly Roll, Wyclef Jean and Power to the Patients for an event in Washington, D.C. to advocate for a more affordable and equitable healthcare system through price transparency.

Fat JoeTaking place on Wedenesday, January 10 at Hamilton Live and with congressional leaders and government officials in attendance, the event see the artists “shed light on the injustices created by a healthcare system that hides its prices, stifling competition and evading accountability for overcharges and price gouging,” according to the announcement.

As part of the event, Fat Joe will serve as emcee while Jelly Roll and Wyclef Jean will perform.

“The U.S. healthcare system is America’s sickness,” said Fat Joe. “Healthcare price transparency isn’t a partisan or complicated issue. It’s common sense. The only people opposed to it are healthcare industry interests profiting by keeping patients in the dark. Price transparency can protect patients, families, employers, workers, even our own government from healthcare overcharging and pricing fraud as it does everywhere else in the economy. Clear prices allow consumers to choose affordable treatments without worrying that routine care will result in overcharges and even bankruptcy. Price transparency holds hospitals and insurance companies accountable, forcing them to compete and lowering costs, improving healthcare access, quality, and outcomes.”

Power to the Patients has played a key role in raising awareness on Capitol Hill about the urgent need to pass comprehensive healthcare price transparency legislation.

Last April, Fat Joe met with congressional leaders and the White House to advocate for the enforcement of price transparency rules that most hospitals around the country are disregarding.

And last September, he tapped Rick Ross, Busta Rhymes, French Montana, Method Man and Chuck D to unveil a public service announcement with Power the Patients, demanding elected officials commit to price transparency to allow for more honest, affordable, and equitable healthcare across the country.

The musicians called out hospitals and insurance companies that continue to hide prices by posting “estimates” or “average prices” instead of dollars and cents and noted the deception leads to the “stifling of competition, overcharges, fear, debt, and devastation all over the country.”

As a result of the continued awareness campaign, momentum for healthcare price transparency legislation has accelerated with both chambers of Congress taking action to advance legislation.

Fat Joe will join Power to the Patients, affiliated organization Patient Rights Advocate, and employers from across the country in meetings with Congressional leaders urging them to seize the momentum and get healthcare price transparency legislation passed and sent to President Joe Biden’s desk.

Paramount+ to Premiere Nick Barili’s New Docuseries “De La Calle” in November

Nick Barili is hittin’ the calle next month…

Paramount+ will premiere the 44-year-old Argentinian-American award-winning journalist, executive producer, director and writer’s new docuseries De La Calle in the U.S. and Canada on Tuesday, November 7.

Nick BariliAcross 8 episodes, Barili explores Latino urban music from the U.S. to Panama, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Spain and beyond.

The series takes a journey into the Latine diaspora to map the evolution of Urbano music and cultures that ignited the musical revolution of Rap, Reggaeton, Bachata, Latin trap, Cumbia and other sounds that influence music and culture worldwide.

Nick Barili, De La CalleInterviewees include Fat Joe, NORE, Residente, Mala Rodriguez, Nicky Jam, Nicki Nicole, Villano Antillano, Sech, Goyo, Nathy Peluso, Santa Fe Klan, Jessie Reyes, Feid, Aleman and Gente De Zona, among others.

“As a first-generation immigrant who learned how to speak English through Hip Hop at Malcolm X Elementary, I grew up straddling two worlds, speaking English at school and Spanish at home,” Barili, the project’s co-creator, executive producer and host, shared in a statement.

He continued, “I was influenced by El General and Calle 13 as much as E-40 and OutkastDe La Calle was created to explore how the seeds from the street that inspired Hip Hop are also present throughout Latin America and Spain. Going to the neighborhoods where El Movimiento was created, talking to the pioneers who were actually there and sharing the origin stories of superstars of today and tomorrow. I’m thrilled to have MTV Studios and Paramount+ as partners to bring De La Calle to the world.”

Fat Joe Calling for Transparency in the Nation’s Healthcare System

Fat Joe is helping raise awareness about the nation’s healthcare system…

The 53-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American rapper has joined Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Rick Ross, Chuck D, and French Montana for a special PSA that advocates for more transparency in the healthcare system.

Fat Joe“Today, we confront a health care system that has been rigged against all of us,” they collectively said in the minute-long video. “Hospitals force patients to sign contracts for services without ever showing us actual prices, stifling competition, overcharging without accountability. And if we can’t pay, these same contracts allow them to take everything we own.” 

Partnering with Power to the Patients, they labeled the current healthcare system as an “American healthcare crisis,” and rallied for more honest, affordable and equitable healthcare nationwide.

The video also came ahead of the congressional voting on healthcare transparency bills in Washington, D.C.

“Stifling competition. Overcharging without accountability and we can’t pay. These same contracts allow them to take everything we own,” they continue. “Creating so much fear that millions and millions of Americans refuse to enter a hospital. Our health and our lives at stake. This is an American humanitarian crisis. We demand prices and transparency in healthcare.”

Earlier this year, Power to the Patients, Fat Joe, City Council members and various union groups in New York City joined forces to advocate for transparency efforts.

That resulted in Mayor Eric Adams signing the Healthcare Accountability and Consumer Protection Act in June 2023.

The Act launched the nation’s first Office of Health Care Accountability to allow New Yorkers to compare hospital costs for the same services.

Fat Joe to Host BET Hip Hop Awards for Second Consecutive Year

Fat Joe is reporting for (hosting) duty again

The 52-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American rapper will host the 2023 BET Hip Hop Awards for the second consecutive year,

Fat-Joe Set to take place at the Cobb Energy Center in Atlanta on October 3, the live broadcast will air the following week on Octpber 10 at 9 p.m. ET on BET.

“We are thrilled to welcome back a true hip-hop legend in Fat Joe as this year’s host! As we round out a banner year of celebrating hip-hop’s landmark half-century of influencing culture, he is the perfect emcee to lead us through what promises to be an iconic night,” Connie Orlando, EVP, Specials, Music Programming & Music Strategy at BET, tells Billboard. “Throughout his career, he has continued to be a leader within the culture, bridging the gap between generations. We can’t wait to watch what he comes up with for this year’s show.”

“Hip-hop is my life, and I’m extremely proud to return as host of BET Hip Hop Awards 2023,” Fat Joe adds. “We’re going to make this year’s award show even bigger while also celebrating our hip-hop stars and pioneers in a spectacular way. It’s going to be a legendary night of music and entertainment, and you’re not going to want to miss it.”

This year’s nominations include a diverse crowd of proven veterans, rising rookies, thriving producers and international stars. 21 Savage and Cardi B lead the way with 12 nominations, while Drake is right behind with nine. DJ Khaled and Burna Boy each have seven nods, while J. Cole has six. Jay-Z, Coi Leray, and GloRilla follow with five apiece.

New Episode of Paramount+’s “Behind the Music” to Feature Jennifer Lopez

Prepare for a behind the scenes look at Jennifer Lopez’s music…

The 53-year-old Puerto Rican superstar will be featured in one of the new episodes of Paramount+’s Behind the Music.

Jennifer LopezIn addition to J.Lo, new installments of the documentary series will also feature Boy GeorgeJason Aldean and Remy Ma.

The new installments of the documentary series will hit the streamer on November 29.

Additionally, remastered episodes spotlighting Boyz II Men, Christina Aguilera, Gloria Estefan, Hootie & the Blowfish, Mötley Crüe, Pink and TLC will drop the same day.

Here are the loglines for the new episodes:

  • After three decades, Jennifer Lopez is at the very top of her game and shows no signs of slowing down. J.Lo reflects on key moments of her iconic career in music, film and fashion while celebrating her present with husband Ben Affleck.
  • Boy George reflects on his meteoric rise from outcast to ‘80s global superstar with Culture Club. A tumultuous love affair, intense fame and addiction almost destroyed his career – but 40 years on, he remains an LGBTQ+ pop icon.
  • Jason Aldean is a small-town kid turned country superstar who never backed down in life, and changed the country music genre forever.
  • Remy Ma shares her journey to becoming the queen of New York hip hop. Her road to fame with the Terror Squad was paved with loss – a prison sentence almost ended it all – but her comeback inspired millions.

For 14 seasons, Behind the Music has provided an intimate look into the personal lives of pop music’s greatest and most influential artists. Since moving to Paramount+, the series has gone behind the scenes into the lives of stars like Bret Michaels, Busta Rhymes, Duran Duran, Fat Joe, Huey Lewis, LL Cool J, New Kids on the Block and Ricky Martin.

The series is executive produced by Bruce Gillmer, Jennifer Demme and Michael Maniaci for MTV Entertainment Studios.

Starz Order Pilot of Documentary-Style Format Interview Series from Fat Joe

Fat Joe is seeing Starz

Starz has given a pilot order for an interview series with a documentary-style format from the 52-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American hip hop star and television personality and Sean “Diddy” Combs.

Fat JoeProduced by SpringHill, founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter), the pilot will feature Fat Joe sitting with celebrities and high-profile guests as the show’s host.

“We’re about to create the biggest and most culturally-relevant series on television,” said Fat Joe in a statement. “With Puff, LeBron, the incredible team at Starz, and myself teaming up, you have a dream team that is guaranteed to produce TV gold. Hosting a show has always been a dream of mine and I’m thankful for everyone who helped make it a reality. I promise you that we’re going to push the envelope, deliver compelling interviews and provide pure entertainment. Do remember – you don’t know who I know!”

“I’m excited to partner with Starz and bring these cultural giants together to create the No. 1 show on television,” added Combs. “Fat Joe is a very authentic and respected voice in the culture that deserves a platform to bring these important conversations to a global audience on a major network.”

Fat Joe continues to expand in the television space with various projects on the horizon.

A pilot is currently in development from Starz and BET Studios titled The Book of Jose about the rapper’s life from Fat Joe, Kenya Barris and Jorge Reyes.

On the hosting front, he launched The Fat Joe Show, a nightly Instagram Live talk show where he interviewed politicians, musicians, athletes, actors, entrepreneurs, and influential personalities like Dr. Anthony Fauci, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Floyd Mayweather, Dwyane Wade, Jamie Foxx, and Alicia Keys.

He also recently served as a guest host for both The Wendy Williams Show and the official recap for Triller’s Verzuz platform.

“Time and time again, Fat Joe has delivered outstanding, insightful interviews with legendary personalities who define the zeitgeist, and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Starz family,” said Kathryn Busby, President, Original Programming, Starz. “Fat Joe, Sean Combs, and LeBron James are inspirational icons, and we can’t wait to get started on this incredible journey.”

Fat Joe to Host This Year’s BET Hip Hop Awards

Fat Joe is hedging his BET

The 52-year-old rapper, whose real name is Joseph Antonio Cartagena, will host this year’s BET Hip Hop Awards, slated for October 4 at the Cobb Energy Centre in Atlanta.

Fat Joe

“This will be the BIGGEST award show in history,” Fat Joe tells Billboard. “It’s truly an honor to host and produce the BET Hip Hop Awards, and I can’t thank Connie [Orlando] and the entire BET family enough for this opportunity. We’re going to celebrate music, culture, and entertainment, honor the biggest and brightest stars in the world and make this an unforgettable night full of laughs and surprises. Always remember that yesterday’s host is not today’s host.”

“Fat Joe is hip-hop royalty. He has represented the art form and the Bronx, the birthplace of hip-hop, throughout his outstanding musical career. He is a treasured friend of the network, and we’ve loved seeing and supporting his evolution to becoming the superstar he is today,” adds Orlando, EVP, specials, music programming & music strategy at BET. “We can’t wait to watch him take the stage with his vivacious energy, standing together with today’s hottest and beloved hip-hop stars.”

In August, Joe announced his one-man stand-up show, which will highlight his life and career. The show is set to debut in New York City this fall. Dave Chappelle will start the show with a special introduction, while Chris Robinson serves as the show’s director. Magic Lemonade and Roc Nation are co-producing the event. His autobiography will also drop Nov. 15.

As for the BET Hip Hop Awards, the event will be taped on Sept. 30, and premieres on air Tuesday, October 4, at 9:00 pm ET/PT on BET.

Showtime & BET Studios Adapting Fat Joe’s Memoir “The Book of Jose” into TV Series

Art will soon imitate Fat Joe’s life… 

Showtime and BET Studios are developing the television project based on The Book of Jose, a pilot about the 51-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American hip hop star.

Fat JoeFat Joe, whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, will executive produce alongside pilot script writer Jorge A. Reyes and Kenya Barris.

The Book of Jose is a rags-to-riches story following Fat Joe’s evolution from growing up in the drug and violence-scarred streets of the Bronx to becoming a Grammy-nominee, producer, and actor with a career spanning nearly three decades. The project will follow every phase of Joe’s life and the threats that have come in the form of rivals, addiction, incarceration, and death. All of which showed the artist that resilience and the love of his family are the only paths to success.

Fat Joe, Book of Jose

The Book of Jose comes from Barris’ Khalabo Ink Society in collaboration with Cinema Giants, Buffalo Kid Films, and Artists First. It will be produced through Khalabo Ink Society’s overall deal with BET Studios, where Barris is also a principal partner.

Also serving as executive producers alongside Cartagena, Barris, and Reyes is E. Brian Dobbins, and pilot director Jessy Terrero. Luis F. Velasco and Ulysses Terrero will produce and Ashley Acevedo will AP.

Fat Joe Releasing Tell-All Memoir “The Book of Jose” in the Fall

Fat Joe is telling all…

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban rapper is set to release his new memoir The Book of Jose.

Fat JoeThe hip-hop hitmaker said in a statement, “The Book of Jose is more than just a book about my career. It explores the darkest moments of my life that shaped me as a man, brushes with death, being locked up, losing friends and dealing with depression.”

“I overcame significant adversity, but I’m excited to be in position to share my story and inspire others through my journey,” he added.

Fat Joe, Book of JoseThe tell-all book will be published by Roc Lit 101, an imprint of Random House Group, in the fall.

Fat Joe shared a video announcing the news on Instagram.

“I’m proud to present my memoir, The Book of Jose. This is my life unfiltered, the story of a kid growing up in the South Bronx’s unforgiving streets and how I became a multi-platinum-selling artist,” he captioned the post.

#TheBookofJose comes out on 11/1, but you can pre-order your copy now from @roclit101! Link in bio. @randomhouse.”

Speaking about his book in the clip, Fat Joe said, “This ain’t just a rapper’s story, it’s talking about everything [from] police brutality [to] drug abuse, selling drugs, hustling, getting locked up, getting framed, getting betrayed, depression, hip-hop’s greatest moments — they’re all in this book.”

Prior to the book’s November 1 release, Fat Joe will perform as part of LL Cool J’s newly announced Rock the Bells Festival at Forest Hills in Queens, New York.

Fellow festival performers include Lil Kim, Ice Cube, Trina, Remy Ma, Digable Planets, Jadakiss and more. The Rock the Bells Festival kicks off on August 6.