(AllHipHop News) The six-part documentary series chronicles Kalief Browder’s time on Rikers Island.
Browder spent three years on Rikers Island – 800 of those days in solitary confinement – even though he was never charged with a crime.
Browder, who was just 16-years-old at the time of his arrest for allegedly stealing a backpack, was stuck on Rikers Island because he couldn’t make the $10,000 bail.
Tragically, in June of 2015, just two years after his release, with no charges ever filed, Kalief Browder committed suicide due to the ongoing depression and mental anxiety he suffered from serving on Rikers Island, one of the nation’s toughest prisons.
According to Jay Z, he met Kalief Browder before his death and attempted to inspire him.
“So he comes to the office and I just wanted to give him some encouragement,” Jay Z told the crowd during a screening of the documentary at the Sundance Film Festival yesterday (June 25).
“He told me he was going to community college and I was very encouraged by his story,” Jay Z continued. “He was, at the time, what I viewed to be okay. I looked at this young kid, and I was in awe of his strength. That he was standing there, he was proud, he was sitting up straight, he was talking, he was laughing.”
Jay said that tragedy struck, not long after his meeting with Kalief.
Jay revealed that after the meeting Kalief Browder, he went on tour, and while he was on the road, he received the tragic news that Kalief Browder had taken his own life.
Jay, who had already inked his deal with Harvey Weinstein’s The Weinstein Co., saw Obama speaking on the tragedy on TV and was inspired to take action.
“Everything started happening in a way where I was like, oh, he’s a prophet. His life was meant to make sure other kids don’t have to go through this same thing,” Jay-Z said during the Q&A.
“TIME: The Kalief Browder Story” will debut on Spike TV later this year.