Jay Z isn't mincing any words when it comes to Kalief Browder.
Brooklyn's prodigal son, 47, opened up on Wednesday evening in New York City about the saddening chain of events surrounding Browder as he spoke on a panel for an event dubbed TIME AND PUNISHMENT: A Town Hall Discussion.
It was timed with the release of TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, a Spike TV miniseries documenting the shocking timeline that ended with Browder's June 2015 suicide.
Browder fatally hanged himself at the age of 22, two years after a three-year stint at New York's grisly Rikers Island prison after he was incarcerated - without being convicted - in connection with a 2010 arrest in which he was accused of participating in a robbery, a charge he steadfastly denied.
Equally galling is that Browder, who continually petitioned authorities for a trial, spent nearly two years in the subhuman conditions of solitary confinement prior to being discharged, with no charges against him, in 2013.
The Empire State of Mind artist said Browder's 'death is here to teach us to save a generation of kids,' adding that the miniseries is 'hard to watch, but important to see.'
The Big Pimpin' singer, who serves as an executive producer on the project, was flanked by a number of familiar faces on the panel, such as fellow producer Harvey Weinstein, comic Michael Che, Gayle King of CBS This Morning and famed legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin among others, as they discussed the project and the systemic failures that led to Browder's sad fate.
Jay Z said that 'there’s got to be an awakening across the country,' imploring citizens to cast their glare at things on a micro-level before explaining outward.
'It doesn’t have to be looking at the White House or senators,' he said. 'I think it’s about looking at what’s happening in your county, your town, your city, right now. If Americans can think small, they can do much bigger things.'
The 99 Problems hit-maker said the public has to hold elected officials culpable for unjust incidents like Browder's in order for the wheels of change to spin.
'We put people in office, we make the laws,' he said. 'These government officials? They work for us. They speak to us like we work for them, but we are the power.'
He said that while three million viewers saw the miniseries in its first week, the number needs to be closer to 20 million to ramp up the buzz that will lead to scrutiny and pressure on decision-makers to ensure something like this never happens again.
'We need everyone to be talking about this,' he said. 'That’s how this stops.'
Weinstein said that a documentary about the chain of events that led to Browder's death was 'so unbelievably due in America.'
TIME: The Kalief Browder Story airs 10/9c on Spike TV Wednesday.
Date Posted: Sunday, March 12th, 2017 , Total Page Views: 1100
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