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Jay Z & Spike TV Partner on ‘The Kalief Browder Story’

Weinstein Television and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter have teamed up with Spike TV for a series that will rock the airways and forever change the way the criminal justice system is viewed in this country. 

The documentary project will center on Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old high schooler from the Bronx who found himself caught up in a nightmarish trap. In 2010 Browder was walking home from a party when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack. Though it was a minor charge, Browder spent three years at New York’s infamous Rikers Island jail awaiting trial because his family could not afford to bail him out. Of those three years in jail, Browder spent two of them in solitary confinement. During his time in jail, Browder maintained his innocence and even turned down several plea offers before his case was ultimately dismissed in 2013.

Though he was freed, Browder remained haunted by his time on Rikers Island, where he discussed being assaulted and harassed. Six months after he was released he attempted suicide. In 2015,Browder succeeded in taking his own life.

The Kalief Browder Story will be a powerful six-part series that explores American freedoms, and who actually gets to enjoy them.

“Kalief Browder is a modern day prophet; his story a failure of the judicial process,” Jay Z said during an event about the series. “A young man, and I emphasize young man, who lost his life because of a broken system. His tragedy has brought atrocities to light and now we must confront the issues and events that occurred so other young men can have a chance at justice.”

Debuting on Spike in January 2017, The Kalief Browder Story will be one for the record books. Personal accounts, footage and cinematic recreations of Browder’s time spent in jail will shock viewers and further explain why his story has become a catalyst for criminal justice reform.

“Kalief’s story should endure and inspire much-needed change in the criminal justice system,” said Sharon Levy, Spike’s Executive Vice President, Original Series. “When Weinstein Television brought us this project, we immediately knew it was a story that had to be told.”

Jay Z will serve as an executive producer on the project along with Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser, Jenner Furst, Nick Sandow, Julia Willoughby Nason, and Michael Gasparro.

A press conference was held in NYC to announce the showing of the project. Head to Ebony.com to check out the video.