Jay Z is speaking up in order to encourage people to use their voices and their platforms to bring about a change for the better in terms of social justice.
“Look around at what’s happening in your town and your city right now. Think small and you can do much bigger things,” he wrote in a powerful essay for the Hollywood Reporter this past Wednesday.
He spoke of how he has used the resources available to him in order to tell the story of Kalief Browder, who committed suicide in 2015 after spending three painful years at Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack.
“The power of one voice is strong, but when it comes to social justice the power of our collective voices is unstoppable,” Jay Z wrote.
“Now is the time to recognize that through our voices we really can affect change.”
“Some of us will do the important work locally at the micro level to awaken our neighbors,” he went on. “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.”
Jay worked with Harvey Weinstein to bring the documentary series “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” to television. He said working on a project like this one made him realize that we “could raise our voices and create that collective we need.”
“We can work together to demand change from our elected government officials,” he said. “We put them in office, we make the laws, and we show them the path to progress. That is our power and it’s the only way that healing will come for Kalief and his family.”
Next on his plate is another project that will force us to look at the reality of race in America. The upcoming documentary will be called, “Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story.”
“My hope is for my next documentary…to create a similar conversation that leads to change and helps keep our children safe,” he wrote in the essay. “But social justice isn’t a political issue it’s a human one. 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.”