Over the years I had spoken to Michael Harris over the phone a few times. I've never met him, but from afar he admired my writings and reached out to me some years back. I now consider him as a friend.
Years before I had my first contact with Michael I was told the real story of how Death Row Records came into existence. Years before that I heard the mane in the streets of Los Angeles back in the 1980s. Harry-O was legendary before he was known to the world as a major cocaine supplier. He was the producer of the first Black production called Checkers to play on Broadway. Also in that play was a first-time actor named Denzel Washington.
Since the late 1980s, Harris, 58, has been serving federal and state sentences related to operating an 11-state cocaine trafficking empire that dealt directly with the Colombia-based Cali Cartel. But his work from behind bars as a journalist and philanthropist has earned widespread support for his release, including from community leaders and elected officials in the Bay Area.
“On the outside, when I was selling drugs, I thought I knew everything,” Harris wrote in a 2017 letter to a federal judge. “My criminal activity felt victimless to me. It was just business. I didn’t think about what it was doing to real flesh and blood people — how the drugs ruined their lives…I was selfish, inconsiderate and worse. It truly pains me, and shames me, to think about who I was and what I did.”
The move came shortly after it was revealed that rapper Snoop Dogg had been secretly lobbying the White House on behalf of Harris.
Source: Mercury News