As part of the day of reflection on 2 June, which saw leading figures in the music industry pledge to “‘disconnect from work and reconnect with our community”, the rapper paid for full-page adverts featuring a Martin Luther King speech about the importance of standing up to oppression to be printed across a number of publications.
Through Jay-Z’s entertainment company and record label Roc Nation, the lengthy quote taken from a speech given by King in Selma, Alabama, in 1965 was published in the pages of papers including The New York Times, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Chicago Tribune and The Los Angeles Times.
“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right. 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,” King’s quote reads.
“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! We’re going to stand up amid anything they can muster up, letting the world know that we are determined to be free!”
Published “in dedication to George Floyd”, the advert is signed by Jay-Z, as well as the families of young black men killed by the police, activists and organisations including The Innocence Project.
The death of Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes, has sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the United States.
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