Over the past few years, rapper, philanthropist, and Global Citizen Shawn “Jay Z” Carter has positioned himself as a leading voice decrying the shooting of unarmed black men, both by police and otherwise.
“Just a boy from the hood that // Got my hands in the air // In despair don’t shoot // I just wanna do good,” he sang in “Spiritual,” a song released last summer after a spate of shootings of unarmed black men.
Now, Jay is producing a docuseries and a film about the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen who was shot and killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch member in Sanford, Florida, Variety reports.
He’s collaborating with the Weinstein Company, the film company that produced the Oscar-nominated film “Lion,” starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman.
Jay Z has collaborated with Weinstein since September of 2016, when he signed a two-year movie and TV deal with them.
“I'm excited to tell stories from real-life prophets who, through their struggles, have changed the world for the better and others whose stories are filled with fantasy and delight,” Jay Z said in a statement after signing on with the company.
But his newest project with Weinstein, far from being filled with “fantasy and delight,” touches a far darker side of the American story.
The six-part docu-series and feature-length, narrative film will be based largely off two books: “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It” and “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin,” which was written by Martin’s parents.
Trayvon Martin was just 17 when Zimmerman cut his life short.
According to The Guardian, black people make up 25% of fatal shootings in the United States, but just 13% of the total population.
Jay Z’s film and documentary series will take an in-depth look at just one of these shootings, but hopefully his prominence as a public figure will help bring light to an important issue that continues to plague the United States.