Jay Z producing powerful documentary series about Kalief Browder, the young man who committed suicide after three years at Rikers Island
Jay Z is using his voice to crusade for a young man failed by the criminal justice system.
The hip-hop mogul is producing a powerful, six-part documentary series chronicling the tragic story of Kalief Browder, who committed suicide after serving three years at Rikers Island for a crime for which he was never actually convicted.
Connecting with The Weinstein Company to develop the Spike TV series, Jay Z told reporters Thursday that he hopes the stirring project inspires systemic change.
“It’s our job to use our mediums … to use our voice to get these stories out, so we can have a discussion about it moving forward and fix things,” he said at New York’s Roxie Hotel Cinema. “Because it’s broken currently.”
Browder was just 16 years old when he was arrested in The Bronx for allegedly stealing a backpack and incarcerated on robbery charges in 2010. He waited three years at Rikers Island for a trial that never came — including two years in solitary confinement.
Haunting security footage from his prison stay showed separate incidents where he was ruthlessly beaten by 10 other inmates and brutally shoved to the ground by a correction officer. Browder was eventually released in
With the new project, titled “Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” Jay Z, 46, and his fellow producers plan to provide a comprehensive window into Browder’s harrowing tale through first-person accounts from people directly connected to the story, as well as eye-opening archival footage.
“(We want to show) that this young man got dealt a horrible hand in the way it happened, and (we hope) that his story and his life inspires others and saves other lives,” Jay Z said. “I think it’s very clear solitary confinement for a 16-year-old is wrong to every single person in here. It’s inhumane.”
This is the first project to be revealed since Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, announced a TV and film production deal last week with The Weinstein Company, which is led by former Miramax co-founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein.
“Time: The Kalief Browder Story” is set to premiere in 2017.”
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