Jay Z thinks we can all learn something from Kalief Browder, the young man who took his own life after spending three years in jail without a trial or conviction.
The rapper and executive producer of “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” was featured in the docuseries, remembering Browder as a “prophet.”
“I believe our prophets come in many shapes or forms,” Jay Z said in the episode that aired Wednesday. “Sometimes our prophets come in the form of young undeveloped energy that will teach all us grown-ups how to love better and have more compassion.”
Jay was first touched by Browder’s story when he met the young man after he was released from Rikers Island. Unable to make the $3,000 bail and unwilling to take a plea deal for allegedly stealing a backpack, Browder had spent years behind bars waiting for a trial that never happened. He was abused by correctional officers and inmates, and spent nearly two years in solitary confinement. In 2013, the charges against him were dropped.
His sister Nicole Browder previously told The Huffington Post that her brother was consumed by paranoia and started fights with his family once he returned home. It was a serious change from Browder’s demeanor before his arrest, she said. In 2015, at just 22 years old, Browder died by suicide.
“What was done to him was a huge injustice, and I think people see his story and realize like, man, this is going on,” he told Democracy Now! earlier this year. “This is not like one case that happened. This is happening to a lot of people, you know, especially places where I come from ― inner boroughs and Marcy Projects and the Bronx and Brooklyn and all these places. So, it’s very important, his story.”
H/T The Grio
Read more about “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” here.