Jay Z was at the Sundance Film Festival this week promoting an upcoming six-part docuseries, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, which he produced. “I believe this young man, his story, will save a lot of lives,” Jay Z told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
The Kalief Browder Story, slated to debut in March on Spike TV, focuses on a 16-year-old boy held at Rikers Island for three years without trial after being accused of stealing a backpack. Two of those years were spent in solitary confinement. Browder was eventually released and later committed suicide.
Jay Z read Browder’s profile in The New Yorker and decided to reach out. “It was meant to happen,” he said at Sundance. “[Browder] came to my office. I wanted to see him, give him encouragement for those three years of life that he had missed – just offer encouragement and anything I could do for him.”
“What was done to him was a huge injustice and I think people will see his story and realize, man, this is going on,” Jay continued. “This is not like one case that happened. This is happening a lot for people – especially where I come from in the boroughs and the Marcy Projects and the Bronx and Brooklyn and all these places.”
Jay Z recruited Harvey Weinstein – also in attendance at Sundance – to help produce the project, which was directed by Jenner Furst and written by Nick Sandow. The first two installments of The Kalief Browder Story premiered at the film festival. The series debuts for the general public on Spike TV on March 1st at 10 pm EST.