On Tuesday, the hip-hop mogul and his entertainment company Roc Nation took out full-page ads in newspapers across America in memory of Floyd, a man from Minneapolis who died while in police custody after a police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes, moments that were captured on cellphone video.
In the footage, Floyd, 46, shouts “I cannot breathe” and “don’t kill me” before losing consciousness. He was later pronounced dead. Since-fired officer Derek Chauvin was later charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Jay-Z, 50, and his team worked with Floyd’s family, as well as several attorneys and activists, to create the ads, per Rolling Stone.
The ads begin with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from his famous 1965 speech in Selma, Ala., in which he encouraged people to “hunker the fear of death.”
“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right,” it reads. “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true. So we’re going to stand up amid horses. We’re going to stand up right here, amid the billy-clubs. We’re going to stand up right here amid police dogs, if they have them. We’re going to stand up amid tear gas!”
The quote concludes: “We’re going to stand up amid anything they can muster up, letting the would know that we are determined to be free!”
Jay-Z attends 2020 Roc Nation THE BRUNCH on January 25, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Roc Nation)
The ad appeared in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Enquirer and more, and it was signed by several high-profile attorneys and activism organizations.
Among the signees was the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Innocence Project, the Women’s Global Initiative and Jay-Z himself.
The parents of Botham Jean, DJ Henry and Antwon Rose II — all of whom were unarmed African-Americans killed by police officers — are also on the list.