Cyntoia Brown, who has been serving a life sentence for killing a man when she was 16, was granted clemency Monday by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. Black superstarsknown to speak out against the corrupt prison system, such as Meek Mill, Jada Pinkett Smith and T.I., celebrated the announcement in January 2019.
Brown was charged with the 2004 murder of Johnny Mitchell Allen, 43, a real estate agent, who allegedly bought her as part of a sex trafficking ring.
For the past decade, organizers who are women of color have worked tirelessly to have Brown released. The case gained national attention in the past year after many celebrities such as Rihanna, Kim Kardashian West and Smith shared the woman’s story on their social platforms.
Several people began advocating for the alleged sex trafficking victim’s release using the hashtag “#FreeCyntoiaBrown.”
“Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16,” Haslam said in a statement. “Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.”
According to CNN, after serving 15 years in prison, Brown will be released Aug. 7. She will be on parole for 10 years.
Check out the congratulatory posts from prominent figures below.
Jada Pinkett Smith
Kim Kardashian West
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.