JAY-Z Buys Full-Page Ads Across the U.S. in Dedication to George Floyd
By Jennifer Drysdale
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
JAY-Z's Roc Nation has taken out full-page ads in newspapers across the United States in the wake of George Floyd's death.
The ad, which was also posted on Roc Nation's Instagram on Tuesday, includes a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1965 address in Selma, Alabama. Newspapers such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer all ran the ad Tuesday, according to CNN, with more ads to come Wednesday.
"Only way we can really achieve freedom is to somehow hunker the fear of death. But if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live," the passage begins. "Deep down in our nonviolent creed is the conviction -- that there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they are worth dying for."
"A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right," King's quote continues. "A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. So we're going to stand up amid horses. We're going to stand up right here, amid the billy-clubs. We're going to stand up right here amid police dogs, if they have them. We're going to stand up amid tear gas!"
The ad concludes with signatures from JAY-Z, organizations like the Innocence Project and Until Freedom, Floyd's attorneys and the parents of Botham Jean, DJ Henry and Antwon Rose II, three black men who were killed by police.
"In dedication to George Floyd. #BlackLivesMatter #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd," Roc Nation's post of the ad is captioned.
Four officers were fired last week for their roles in the incident, and Derek Chauvin -- who was recorded on video holding Floyd down by the neck with his knee -- was taken into custody by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Friday, Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington stated, per CBS News. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who charged Chauvin with third-degree murder and manslaughter, was replaced as leading prosecutor on the case by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, after an outcry from many in Minneapolis who questioned why it took several days for Chauvin to be arrested.
"After our very earnest conversation, thank you to Governor Walz for doing what's right and calling in Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the George Floyd case," JAY-Z wrote on Instagram on Sunday. "Earlier today, Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me -- a dad and a black man in pain. Yet, I am a human, a father and a black man in pain, and I am not the only one."
The rapper said that he and an "entire country in pain" are calling on Ellison "to do the right thing" and to prosecute those culpable "to the fullest extent of the law."
"This is just a first step," JAY-Z continued. "I am more determined to fight for justice than any fight my would-be oppressors may have."
"I prevail on every politician, prosecutor and officer in the country to have the courage to do what is right," he wrote. "Have the courage to look at us as humans, dads, brothers, sisters and mothers in pain and look at yourselves."