Jay Z Set to Bail Dads Out of Jail For Father’s Day
“This pre-incarceration conundrum is devastating to families”
A popular criticism of A-list celebrities and moguls, a group of people that certainly includes Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, is that they feign support for community, social and political issues. While that may be true of some of Jay’s peers, the Brooklyn mogul is doing his part to ensure that it doesn’t apply to him.
In an essay on what he calls the “exploitative” bail industry, Jay Z announced that he’ll be bailing fathers out of jail today in honor of Father’s Day in conjunction with community activism organizations Southerners on New Ground and Color of Change. Mr. Carter cited the philanthropic work done by these specific organizations on Mother’s Day as inspiration. “This Father’s Day, I’m supporting those same organizations to bail out fathers who can’t afford the due process our democracy promises. As a father with a growing family, it’s the least I can do, but philanthropy is not a long fix,” wrote Jay in the essay, which was published to TIME. “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.”
Jay has consistently referenced his unstable relationship with his father throughout his career. Naturally, the realities of a lacking paternal presence aren’t lost on him, and as a co-producer of the recent Kalief Browder documentary, he is more than well-versed on the struggles people of color face as they’re processed through the justice system. And he asserts that the two are directly related. “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 addition, aside from Browder, Jay mentioned the tragic case of Sandra Bland, the 22-year-old woman who unexpectedly died in police custody following a traffic stop. “Sandra Bland was also forced to post bail after her minor traffic infraction in Prairie View, Texas, led to a false charge of assaulting a public servant.”
When Jay mentioned his growing family, he wasn’t being vague. Though it hasn’t yet been confirmed by the Carters, several reports—including one from CNN—have announced this morning that Beyonce has given birth to the couple’s twins, officially making Jay Z a father of three. Issues of disproportionate incarceration and exploitative bail maneuvers likely hit home for Jay long before he opted to enact today’s mission, and having a family can add a sense of urgency to that.
“On any given day over 400,000 people, convicted of no crime, are held in jail because they cannot afford to buy their freedom,” writes Jay. Regardless of political affiliation or musical preference, that’s a statistic that should be deemed unjustifiable on a multitude of levels. Today, Jay should be hopeful that by way of his initiative, awareness of that fact will increase.