JAY-Z Pens Essay for Change: ‘Social Justice Isn’t a Political Issue, It’s a Human Issue’
JAY-Z has been an outspoken critic of the criminal justice system, which is why he produced the docu-series Time: The Kalief Browder Story. In an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, the rap mogul vows to continue to create projects that bring forth social change. He also wants his fans to do the same.
“The power of one voice is strong, but when it comes to social justice, the power of our collective voices is unstoppable,” he wrote. “Now is the time to recognize that through our voices we really can effect change.”
“Some of us will do the important work locally at the micro level to awaken our neighbors. Some of us will work for progress regionally. And a few of us will be like Kalief Browder, a modern-day prophet whose death two years ago started a discussion that continues today about how poor, black juveniles are treated in the criminal justice system,” he continued. “It is up to us to continue to amplify his story so that we can save a generation of kids from the same fate. His is the kind of story that you can’t ignore, and people are starting to see that what happened to him is not an isolated case. He’s just one example in a system that is broken. We need to be the ones who fix it.”
JAY-Z is currently working on a documentary about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin titled Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story and a National Geographic project called Race with JAY-Z, which examines race in America during the 2016 presidential election. He hopes that his projects will kickstart a movement of projects addressing many of the social issues that are affecting people and their respective communities today.
“But social justice isn’t a political issue. It’s a human issue,” he writes. “It’s a story of empathy. When we are able to identify that we are all not perfect and have compassion for someone else, we can move forward as a society.”
“Look around at what’s happening in your town and your city right now. Think small, and you can do much bigger things.”
Read the essay in its entirety here.