Jay Z recently mocked conservative critics while wearing a “Retired Drug Dealer” in NYC.
However, it appears that Hova is up to something as he recently held a press conference where he revealed the production work he’s been doing in creating a documentary on the late Kalief Browder.
Kalief Browder, was an African-American youth from NYC who at the age of 16 was jailed for having allegedly stolen a backpack, and remained incarcerated at NYC’s notorious Rikers Island for 3 years without a trial.
Browder continued to plead his innocence during the 3 years he was incarcerated, but ultimately took his own life in June 2015 after being released from jail while still suffering from years of depression and anxiety.
In October of 2014, The New Yorker broke a story that would stand as an indictment of the criminal justice system and it’s abuse of people from marginalized communities. The article covered the case of Kalief Browder, an African-American youth who at the age of 16 was jailed for having allegedly stolen a backpack, and would remain incarcerated for 3 years without a trial.
In the years that followed, activists, lawyers, and legislators would cite the Browder case when arguing the need for prison reform. Tragically, Browder’s cause would take on another detention, when in June of 2015 he committed suicide, with many attributing his debilitating struggle with depression to the psychological and physical abuse he suffered while behind bars.
On Thursday, October 6, Jay Z announced that in partnership with the Weinstein Co. he will be helping to bring the dark saga to television. “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” is scheduled to air on Spike TV in January of 2017. Each episode of the six-part series will feature reenactment’s of Browder’s experience, along with archived footage and interviews with those closest to the late Bronxite.
“It’s inhumane. It’s difficult for me to find the words, it’s so inhumane,” Jay Z told the room full of reporters, at a press conference to preview the production. He spoke of the impact he hopes continuing to expose the story will have, saying, “Our voices are stronger than ever. If everyone in this room is like, ‘I don’t agree with this happening to a 16-year-old,’ then it won’t happen again. It’s that simple.”
Throughout his imprisonment in Rikers Island, Browder would maintain his innocence, refusing to cut a plea deal that could have resulted in his release. Unable to make $3,500 bail, he would tough it out for 35 months, over the course of which he’d attend 31 hearings while awaiting a trial that was repeatedly postponed. While serving out his time he would endure regular beatings at the hands of his fellow inmates, and as footage obtained by the media would reveal, from corrections officers as well. Record of Browder’s perpetual containment in solitary confinement would eventually lead to the city banning the isolation of minors behind bars. Months before Browder took his own life, President Obama would profile the unjust circumstance of his very detainment in a Washington Post editorial.
Jay Z recollects having requested a meeting with Browder after coming across The New Yorker article. “I told her I need to meet this young man,” Jay said, of having been handed the news by his assistant. The two would meet in his office soon after, with the rap mogul having instilled words of encouragement after discussing his case. He expressed feeling as though the docuseries makes good on a gut feeling he got upon learning of Browder’s death. “I was thrown, of course,” he said. “I kept asking myself, ‘Man, the story’s not supposed to end like this. It’s not supposed to end this way. That’s not how this story goes, not in the movies, not in real life.” Before long he would bring the idea for the series to Harvey Weinstein, who brought it to Spike.