Jay Z is celebrating Father’s Day by helping bail dads out of jail, and cue all the tears
If anyone is having an amazing Father’s Day today, it’s probably Jay Z, right? The rapper has just welcomed twins with wife Beyoncé, and in an effort to give back, Jay is celebrating by bailing fathers out of jail so they, too, can have the opportunity to spend this special day with their children. But this isn’t just about Father’s Day, it’s about taking a stand and tackling the injustices of the American prison system — which mostly impacts people of color.
Mr. Sean Carter penned an op-ed for Time, writing that he was inspired by the fundraising efforts of Southerners on New Ground and Color of Change, two organizations that bailed out over 100 mothers on Mother’s Day. Jay Z said he will be donating to those organizations to bail out fathers on Father’s Day.
“If you’re from neighborhoods like the Brooklyn one I grew up in, if you’re unable to afford a private attorney, then you can be disappeared into our jail system simply because you can’t afford bail,” Jay Z wrote. “Millions of people are separated from their families for months at a time — not because they are convicted of committing a crime, but because they are accused of committing a crime.”
In his essay, the rapper writes that since producing Time: The Kalief Browder Story, about a 16 year old who spent three years on Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime, he has become “obsessed with the injustice of the profitable bail bond industry.”
He said, “Kalief’s family was too poor to post bond when he was accused of stealing a backpack. He was sentenced to a kind of purgatory before he ever went to trial. The three years he spent in solitary confinement on Rikers ultimately created irreversible damage that lead to his death at 22.”
“On any given day over 400,000 people, convicted of no crime, are held in jail because they cannot afford to buy their freedom,” he continued. “When black and brown people are over-policed and arrested and accused of crimes at higher rates than others, and then forced to pay for their freedom before they ever see trial, big bail companies prosper.”
Kalief’s story is just one of many examples of how not being able to afford bail and proper legal representation can potentially put innocent people in dangerous situations. Remember Sandra Bland? #SayHerName
Earlier this week, Jay Z became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He quickly went on a little tweeting spree sending thank you’s to everyone who has inspired him over the years. He also shared a video message from President Obama congratulating him on the accomplishment and saying, “We know what it’s like not to come from much and to know people who didn’t get the same breaks that we did.”
It’s inspiring to see Jay using his platform to support dads in need.
In closing his Time essay, Jay Z said, “As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix, we have to get rid of these inhumane practices altogether.”
“We can’t fix our broken criminal justice system until we take on the exploitative bail industry.”
If you need a little inspiration today, you can read the rest of Jay’s powerful essay here.