Usher’s Instagram account is very appropriately named, “Howuseeit.” The R&B singer recently shared a heartbreaking story with his Instagram and Twitter followers about a man named Glenn Ford, while raising some serious concerns about the system of law enforcement that we have in place today.
The singer, who turns 37 today, posted an image of Ford on Instagram and wrote, “Glenn Ford was wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to death. He was in solitary for 30 years. He was finally released and recently died of lung cancer. Justice or Just Us. Is the system broken?” He added the sole hashtag, “CHAINS.”
Usher also posted the man’s photo on Twitter, asking the same question (“Is the system broken?”) with a link to a 60 Minutes feature about Ford’s story.
Usher’s followers seemed to agree with the point he was trying to raise with his posts. They left comments such as, “It’s been Just US since the beginning, no justice for Us and that’s got to change!” and, “So sad, his life was taken 30 years ago. This system has always been broken!”
Some fans were also quick to point out the obvious racial component within the justice system, which was a big part of this case. According to statistics revealed in the 60 Minutes interview, 77% of the death rows ordered in the predominantly white town of Caddo Parish, Louisiana (where Glenn Ford’s case was tried) over the past four decades have been to black people.
And what is even more terrible is the fact that when Ford was freed after 30 years—time he should never have spent in jail in the first place—all he got was a $20 gift card, enough for one full meal. And only months after attaining his overdue justice, Ford died alone and broke in a home for released prisoners.
However, while the judge who ordered Ford’s sentence realized his heinous mistake, there are a few people—such as Caddo Parish’s acting district attorney, Dale Cox—who continue to maintain that they were right about the conviction. With any luck, having a major celebrity like Usher bring attention to the case will help push for a much needed change in our justice system.
Usher Raymond, Instagram post, October 13, 2015.
Usher Raymond, Twitter post, October 13, 2015, 4:19 p.m.
Whitaker, B., “30 Years on Death Row,” CBS News web site, October 11, 2015.