Jay Z Speaks on Police Brutality: 'It's Not a Political Issue, It's a Human Issue'

by Elisa Osegueda 1:59 PM PDT, October 06, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Jay Z and The Weinstein Company have teamed up to produce Time: The Kalief Browder Story, a six-part docuseries that tells the story of a young African-American student who spent three years in jail without ever being convicted.

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The 46-year-old rapper got to meet Browder in 2015, two years after being released from prison, but shortly after their encounter, the 22-year-old college hopeful took his own life.

"I look at Kalief Browder as a modern-day prophet," Jay Z said during a press event on Thursday in New York. "Our prophets come in many different shapes, forms, or mediums. This young man, just by the fact that he brought all of us here today, lets you know how powerful of a soul he was."

"Kalief came to the office and we met and I wanted to give him words of encouragement, that I saw his story, and that I'm proud of him for making it through, and to keep pushing," he recalled. "He told me that he was going to college."

Jay Z went on explain that after their meeting, he got a call informing him of Browder's death.

"I was thrown, of course," he shared. "I was asking myself, this story doesn't end like this, it's not supposed to end this way. That's not how the story goes. Not in the movies, not in real life."

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When asked about police brutality, Jay Z simply stated: "When you have compassion for what someone goes through — we're all looking for a short embrace at time. Judgment is the enemy of compassion. When you are able to identify that…we’re all not perfect, we may make mistakes. All of us, every single one of us."

"There has to be a relationship," he added. "There has to be respect on both sides… We need to keep pushing the conversation forward. Again, it's not a political issue, it's a human issue. I would hope that any human being, that that's the right thing to do."

Time: The Kalief Browder Story will debut in January on Spike and will feature first-person accounts, archival footage, re-creations and interviews from politicians, friends and family members close to Browder.