Shawn “Jay Z” Carter may be a wealthy self-made man, but it wasn’t always that way. And as a Black father living in America, he knows the unique struggles faced by African-American families.
The “Hard Knock Life” rapper penned an op-ed on the “injustice of the profitable bail bond industry” and how it affects families of color in America.
“When I helped produce this year’s docuseries, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, I became obsessed with the injustice of the profitable bail bond industry,” he states in the piece. “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.”
The Roc Nation founder goes on to include sobering statistics about the devastating affects of incarceration on families.
“One in 9 Black children has an incarcerated parent. Families are forced to take on more debt, often in predatory lending schemes created by bail bond insurers,” the star writes. “Or their loved ones linger in jails, sometimes for months—a consequence of nationwide backlogs. Every year $9 billion dollars are wasted incarcerating people who’ve not been convicted of a crime, and insurance companies, who have taken over our bail system, go to the bank.”
In addition to penning the op-ed, Jay Z reportedly bailed out a host of fathers for Father’s Day.
“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,” he writes.
Click here to read the full op-ed.