Jay Z Takes Another Step Towards Justice Reform

Photo: James Devaney/Getty Images.
Jay Z doesn't need to speak to make a statement.
On Thursday, the rapper met with New York governor Andrew Cuomo to discuss potential changes to police enforcement policies following the brutal death of Eric Garner. According to the governor's communications director, Melissa DeRosa, “Governor Cuomo and Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter had a productive conversation about doing a top-to-bottom review of the criminal-justice system and how we can all work together to pass a reform package that ensures equality in the eyes of the law."
Meeting with legislative power to discuss reform is a bold move for Jay Z, who has notably stayed quiet when it comes to controversial political issues. In spite of his efforts to improve justice, however, he has received criticism for not speaking out, for enjoying Monday evening's Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers basketball game while protestors marched angrily outside the Barclays Center, and for outfitting players (including LeBron James) in "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts (originally sported by Chicago Bulls' Derrick Rose on Saturday) — yet not wearing one himself.
But, does he really deserve the criticism? Jay Z may not be the most vocal of celebrities when it comes to controversial current affairs, but that doesn't mean he doesn't care. In July 2013, he and Beyoncé attended a vigil for Trayvon Martin in Harlem; he published a statement in light of reports against Barneys New York, with whom he collaborated with on a holiday collection, for racial discrimination. He also still pays the school tuition for the children of Sean Bell, who was shot and killed by the NYPD in 2006. The "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts were just Jay's latest subtle way of saying that things need to change. And, when Jay Z speaks, the world needs to listen.

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