Corvain Cooper knows what it is like to be behind prison walls and feel like the people you love the most have forgotten about you. He served seven years of a life sentence for a nonviolent marijauna conviction.
Since receiving clemency from former President Donald Trump before he left office in January, Corvain has hit the ground running, hoping to shine light on those whose individual stories are overshadowed within the fight for prison reform.
Working as brand ambassador of 40 Tons Clothing, along with his business partner and CEO Loriel Alegrete, Cooper has found a unique lane of merging his past fashion pursuits within his current focus of cannabis equity and restorative justice.
“The people who you thought will remember you, will forget about you. I want to be the person who is not forgetting about the people serving life sentences,” Cooper said. “I know how it is sitting in the cell, looking at the wall, wishing you get some pictures or wishing to hear from somebody on the outside.”
When Cooper was sentenced in 2014, he said that he never accepted “life in prison” as his final judgement. Although he understood the magnitude of the sentencing, he knew that everything close to him would crumble, including the future of his two young daughters. He also knew that the essence of who he was as a man would begin to fade and deteriorate.
Two of his female co-defendants also received jail time in the case.
As he sought different avenues to try and obtain freedom, this is when Cooper’s faith in God was really all he had to stand on, as well as the fact that thousands of people on the outside began to petition and rally for his freedom.
His story landed on the front page of the Washington Post in 2020, as well as the BET documentary “Smoke” which shows how the war on drugs has systematically targeted Black communities with the criminalization of marijuana.
Ivanka Trump would eventually hear of Cooper’s story and was touched not only by the hypocrisy of his sentence but also that he had two daughters that needed him. Although her father granted Cooper clemency and he was released from prison, since he did not receive a full pardon, he must still undergo ten years of parole and is limited in what he can do within the world of cannabis, especially at a time when there is so much growth in the market.
Despite these barriers, he has still been able to have his own strain of marijuana packaged and sold in the popular cookies marijuana dispensary.
For now, Cooper is focused on community events anywhere in L.A County and beyond where he can lend his resources, voice and lived experiences with 40 Tons. So far, 40 Tons has sponsored expungement clinics in South Central, as well as coding workshops for the youth.
On September 3rd, they are hosting a job fair for the formerly incarcerated to obtain employment in Hawthorne. When you go to 40 Tons website you can choose to write to a prisoner or purchase a shirt directly from them and 100% of the proceeds will be put into their personal accounts.
Another focus of Cooper’s, is catching up for lost time with his two daughters who are 15 and 11.
“They are with me right now,” Cooper reveals. “I got them working, showing them responsibility, how to trade stocks and how to get their own wealth so they won’t have to depend on anyone when they get older. That’s my basic strategy right now,”