Jay-Z’s choice of highlighting MLK’s speech given during the marches from Selma, Alabama to the state capitol in Montgomery was a poignant decision. The marches were done by non-violent activists who wanted to highlight racial injustice in the South and demand the right to vote. The marches were in response to the arrests of 3,000 civil rights protesters, which took place between January and February 1965, and the death of deacon Jimmie Lee Jackson, who had been shot and killed during a peaceful protest by a State Trooper. MLK’s description of the events in the mid 1960s mirror the current state of the U.S., where peaceful participants have found themselves arrested and in many cases severely injured by rubber bullets and tear gas fired by police officers and members of the military who have been deployed to residential areas.
Appearing in major U.S. newspapers like the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Enquirer, the ad arrives two days after Jay-Z spoke with Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. At a press conference on Sunday, Walz confirmed that the Grammy winner had phoned him earlier that day to offer his support and express his concerns over how the criminal case against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin would be handled. “It was so incredibly human,” said Walz. “It wasn’t Jay-Z, international celebrity. It was a dad and, I think quite honestly, a black man whose visceral pain of this that he knew.”
On Sunday evening, Walz announced that former congressman and Democratic National Committee chair nominee Keith Ellison would be taking over Floyd’s case, a move that Jay-Z applauded on social media. At this time, the three other officers who were present during Floyd’s death have been fired but not charged. Ellison has said that he is focused on ensuring that justice is served and has been hesitant to press charges but noted that he expects charges to be laid ‘soon.’ “I need to protect this prosecution,” Ellis told CNN on Sunday. “I am not going to create a situation where people can say this was a rush to judgment.”
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