Jay Z recalls the time he met Kalief Browder
Getty Images

Jay Z Shares The Story Of The Day He Met Kalief Browder

"I look at Kalief Browder as a modern day prophet."

After engaging in leisurely activities at a house party in the Bronx, one moment turned then-16-year-old Kalief Browder's cheerful aura into a three-year gloom.

On his way home from that party, NYPD officers apprehended Browder thinking that he was a suspect for allegedly stealing someone's backpack. After an interrogation where Browder pleaded his innocence, the justice system still sent him to Rikers Island where he awaited trial.

Unfortunately, the case never made it to the courtroom, and he spent more than 1,000 days in jail, 800 of which were spent in solitary confinement. Three years later, Browder was released in 2013 from Rikers after the charges were dropped, but took his life in 2015. Before his passing, Browder's story was featured on the New Yorker, which helped to catalyze Spike TV's forthcoming docuseries that will show footage of his life during and after Rikers.

The six-part program, which is set to air in January 2017, will be produced by Jay Z. During a press conference in New York City on Thursday (Oct. 6), Harvey Weinstein, whose film/TV company recently teamed up with the Brooklynite, shared that they've already filmed four episodes of the program. "Jay brought this project to us. As a team, we brought this to Spike," Weinstein said.

After Jay Z read the New Yorker's 2014 piece, he immediately wanted to meet with Browder. He then called his longtime business partner and Roc Nation president, Chaka Pilgrim, to serve as a liaison between him and Browder.

"I said, 'Chaka, I need to meet this young man, could you find him?' Thinking that it would take a while, she called me back and my phone kept ringing," the Tidal owner said. "She kept calling so I knew it was important. She said, 'You're not going to believe this.' She was at another event and ran across a guy that was his lawyer, a really young man who was helping Kalief seek justice. It was meant to happen. Kalief came to the office and we met."

Browder shared his future plans with the "Where I'm From" rapper, which entailed pursuing a higher education.

"I just wanted to give him words of encouragement, that I saw his story and I'm proud of him for making it through, and to keep pushing. He told me that he was going to college," he said. "For me, in some movies that are told, the story ends differently. Then I got a phone call from Chaka and she told me that Kalief had taken his own life. I was thrown, of course, and asked myself, 'Man, this story doesn't end like this, it's not supposed to end this way. That's not how this story goes. Not in the movies, not in real life.'"

Kalief's mother, Venida Browder, also sat on the panel and brought to light the Stop Solitary for Kids organization, which seeks to end solitary confinement for youths in U.S. based juvenile and adult penitentiaries.

"This is a very important organization and I'm very thankful that this series is aligning itself with this work of this organization," she said. "It's too late, unfortunately, for my son Kalief, but it will definitely benefit other youths so that they won't have to endure what my son endured."

After Browder's story reached the national scale, Jay Z said he noticed that things started changing, beginning with President Barack Obama's elimination of solitary confinement for minors.

"I knew right there that [Kalief] was a prophet," Jay Z said. "Some of our prophets go with tragedy, Martin Luther King, it ends tragically. But what comes from it, the life, the next iteration, the lives saved, and how this young man has moved culture forward is incredible."

View today's press conference below.

From the Web

More on Vibe

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Live Nation

DMX Delivers Powerful Sermon At Kanye West's Sunday Service

DMX commits to delivering the good word with his recent poignant prayer at Kanye West's latest "Sunday Service." His touching reflection was captured and shared on social media this past weekend.

“Father God thank you for making me righteous and acceptance through the blood of Jesus because of that I am blessed and highly favored by you,” the 48-year-old rapper preached. “I am the object of your affection, your favor surrounds me as a shield. And the first thing people come in contact with is my favorite shield. Thank you that I have favor with you and man today. All day long people go out of their way to help me.”

“Doors that were once closed are now open for me. I receive preferential treatment. I have special privileges,” he continued. “I am God’s favorite child…I have supernatural increases and promotion. Like the restoration of everything the devil has stolen from me. This is the day, time, and moment for me to experience the free grace of God.”


View this post on Instagram


The Free Favor of God 🙏

A post shared by DMX (@dmx) on Mar 17, 2019 at 4:44pm PDT

Since DMX was released from prison in January for tax evasion, the New York native has wasted no time getting back in the music scene and voicing his opinions. Never one to hold back his tongue, during his first interview since being a free man on Real 92.3, he expressed his distaste for this generation's latest crop of rappers, which heavily glorify drug usage.

"They're all promoting drug use," DMX said. "If that’s what you want to do, that's your business, but you ain't gotta promote it like it's cool and make it cool."

Nonetheless, if you're a fan of DMX's classic music, you're in for a treat as he's currently on tour to promote his legendary 1998 It's Dark And Hell Is Hot album. He's scheduled to perform in 32 cities throughout the course of two months.

In the meantime, get inspired and watch more of DMX speak the holy word below.

Morning prayer by DMX #SundayService pic.twitter.com/AGpMgUyF9U

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019


View this post on Instagram


Sunday Service @divinebars @1shotdealz Ye

A post shared by DMX (@dmx) on Mar 17, 2019 at 1:00pm PDT

Her favorite part of the week is dancing during Sunday Service pic.twitter.com/yhiDhBqBY5

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

Power pic.twitter.com/7X9rXwkdOW

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

Lift Yourself pic.twitter.com/VLFclhXpRO

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) March 17, 2019

Continue Reading
Getty Images

R&B Singer Andre "Mr. Rhythm" Williams Passes Away At 82

R&B singer and producer Andre Williams, who was best known as Mr. Rhythm, has passed away, Pravda Records confirms . The entertainer reportedly passed away on Sunday (Mar. 17) at the age of 82.

"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of legendary artist Andre Williams," the Chicago-based label wrote in a statement on Facebook. "He died this after in Chicago at the age of 82. He touched our lives and the lives of countless others. We love you Dre."

William's manager, Kenn Goodman, told Billboard that the singer lost his battle to colon cancer while staying in hospice care. "He was diagnosed two weeks ago with colon cancer that spread to his lungs and brain," Goodman said. "After that his body started shutting down pretty quickly. But [he] was committed to trying to sing and record again."

Born Zephire "Andre" Williams, he moved from Alabama to Detroit as a teen in the early 1950s to launch his  music career. He gained local attention after winning the first place prize at the Warfield Theatre's amateur night show eight weeks in a row.

Williams then signed to Fortune Records and took over as the lead vocalist of the group, The Five Dollars. The group was later renamed Andre Williams and the Don Juans and released the top-10 charting single "Bacon Fat."

He would later go on to produce and record tracks including "The Stroke," "Humpin' Bumpin' & Thumpin'," the Five Dutones' "Shake a Tail Feather" and other Fortune Records singles like "Jail Bait" and "The Greasy Chicken."

In his later years, Williams continued to make music. He toured through Europe in 2001, 2005, and 2006, as well as produced a handful of indie compilation albums and group records. Williams was inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame in 2012.

Continue Reading
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Terry Crews Believes 'White Chicks 2' Will "Happen One Day"

Terry Crews is eager to breathe life back into his controversial White Chicks character Latrell Spencer. During an interview with Us Weekly, the famed actor expressed his elation behind a possible sequel to the aforementioned film.

"I would love one! I'm staying in shape for White Chicks 2! I will never get out of shape—you know that, right?" Crews said. "I will be 75 and say, 'Here we go, I'm ready to go!' I will never, ever get out of shape because that movie's going to happen one day."

In 2004, Marlon and Shawn Wayans starred as two rich white women as they went undercover to apprehend a suspect in a kidnapping scheme. The film was also written by their older brother Keenen Ivory Wayans, and starred John Heard, Rochelle Aytes, Faune A. Chambers, and Drew Sidora. During the course of its debut, the reel raked in over $113 million a the box office.

In a 2018 interview with The Chicago Tribune, Marlon Wayans discussed the impact of his film. "White Chicks, to me, is one of the most underrated comedies ever. That's one where I have to say '(Forget) critics,'" he said. "You have to have no sense of humor to not like that movie — two black guys dressed up as white women. Anybody who hates White Chicks, something is wrong with them. They had a bad childhood."

Continue Reading

Top Stories