The rapper points to Kalief Browder as a catalyst for change: "His story will save lives."
Jay Z is showing support for New York mayor Bill de Blasio's decision to shut the doors on the Rikers Island prison facility. The rapper and business mogul sent out a tweet that applauded Blasio's announcement and recognized the importance of Kalief Browder as a catalyst for change.
Hov executive-produced a 6-part documentary titled Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which centered around Browder, a 16-year-old kid from The Bronx who was spent almost 3 years in Rikers, much of which was spent in solitary confinement. Browder was awaiting trial for allegedly stealing a backpack at the time. After his case was dismissed and he was released from prison, Browder committed suicide at the age of 22. The PTSD he suffered from his time at Rikers has been cited as the cause of his suicide.
"Kalief is a prophet. His story will save lives," wrote Jay Z. "You guys watching and your compassion made this happen. Thank you." He included a quote from Barack Obama along with his message.
Blasio speculates the closure of Rikers will take "many years." However, he is dedicated to the cause, which he sees as an essential step to correction the issue of mass incarceration in the U.S, writing, "Rikers Island is an expression of a national problem. The mass incarceration era did not begin in New York City but it’s going to end here."