Contact Us

Jay Z, Harvey Weinstein Discuss Criminal Justice Reform at Town Hall Discussion

TIME AND PUNISHMENT: A Town Hall Discussion With JAY Z And Harvey Weinstein
Dave Kotinsky, Getty Images

Jay Z and Harvey Weinstein held a town hall discussion on Wednesday (March 8) following the premiere of the second episode of TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, which aired on Spike TV.

The two executives talked about the need for criminal justice reform in the wake of Kalief Browder’s horrific story, detailing the torture and despair he faced while incarcerated at Rikers Island.

Browder was only 16 when he was arrested in the Bronx for allegedly stealing a backpack in 2010. He suffered through brutal beatings from his fellow inmates, much of which was captured on video. He waited three years — including two in solitary confinement — for a trial that never happened before his case was dismissed in 2013. But Browder never recovered fully from his ordeal. In 2015, Browder committed suicide; a year later, his mother, Venida Browder, died from a heart attack.

“[Browder’s] death is here to teach us to save a generation of kids,” said Jay Z at the town hall (via Rolling Stone). “I say this about the movie. It’s hard to watch, but important to see.” Weinstein later added, “[Browder]’s a hero … he stands against everything.”

Along with Gayle King, who moderated the panel, Browder’s sister, Nicole, also spoke about her brother’s strength up until his suicide in 2015. The director, Jenner Furst, added that Kalief’s mother, Venida Browder, exhibited “truly inspirational” strength during her son’s ordeal.

Jay Z hopes that the documentary reaches not only the parents but the black community as a whole. “You have to watch this and then walk into your child’s room and just look at them,” he said. The Roc Nation leader feels the problems of the criminal justice system can only be fixed if people take action.

“These government officials? They work for us. They speak to us like we work for them, but we are the power,” he stated. “Three million people watched this the first week; we need it to be 20. We need everyone to be talking about this. That’s how this stops.”

Next: 10 Times Jay Z Kept His Cool Under Pressure

Best of Hot 99.1

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for Hot MVPs quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive Hot MVPs contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.