JAY-Z Answers Question from Center for Justice Program Developer

February 10, 2020

The inaugural Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter Lecture Series at Columbia University sponsored by The African American and African Diaspora Studies Department prompted discussions of education and incarceration.

By Robert Wright

There was one single moment that revealed the kind of man that Mr. Shawn Carter is and what the Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter Annual Lecture Series represents. It was when Mr. Carter looked at my brother Jay Holder and I as we walked down the aisle towards the mic which was now open to ask the renowned star a question. It was a look of recognition. The one you get from a familiar face in a new cell block, or while passing by in your building’s lobby. He had no way of knowing we were two formerly incarcerated men, not even home two years. And when the moderator said that there would be no more questions, Mr. Carter said ”.... those gentlemen have been waiting, let’s have six more questions.” Even after being so far removed from poverty, so far from the disinvestment he escaped long ago, he still identifies with us, the casualties, the wounds, and the triumph. It was good that Jay-Z did that, because it was the first time we didn’t have to take the mic. Real recognize real. Salute Mr. Carter.

Click here to watch the video posted by Roc Nation of Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Jay Holder discussing incarceration and education.

Click here to read Columbia News coverage of the event.