Jay-Z sat down with The New York Times in an exclusive interview about Rest In Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, a six-part docu-series he executive produced that premiered on Paramount Network last night. Speaking with Aisha Harris over phone, Hov says he hopes the documentary will not only educate and enlighten people — particularly those who have doubts about the case — but to change backward laws like stand-your-ground, which contributed to George Zimmerman’s acquittal.
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“With the Kalief Browder documentary, about a teenager held at Rikers Island for three years without trial, you were hoping that it would change certain laws around solitary confinement for juveniles. Is the hope that something similar can happen with regard to the Stand Your Ground laws?
Yes, absolutely. Again, it’s an educational process. This law, we have to get people to understand what it says. Of course, he will not be found guilty. It’s very difficult to be found guilty with this law as it stands today.
The system doesn’t work as it exists today. No one wants to talk about that because it’s as if you are bashing police officers. I’m not bashing police officers. I’m just saying the facts do not support this being the answer, the system as it stands today.“
Jay also talks about patching things up with Harry Belafonte, who once claimed Jay-Z and Beyoncé had “turned their back on social responsibility,” and whether he thinks black celebrities have a duty to be speak up about social issues. “No, I don’t believe in that,” he says. “I think that everyone should check our compassion and our empathy…cause that is the solution.”
Read the full interview about the Trayvon Martin series here.