Rapper Jay-Z says the Trayvon Martin case and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman hit him hard — and that he didn’t sleep for two days after the shock “not guilty” verdict rattled many Americans.
Jay-Z’s appearance at a Trayvon Martin rally in the city this weekend drew much press attention, and Hov and wife Beyonce silently showed solidarity at the protest where Martin’s mom Sybrina Fulton pledged to fight not only for her son, but for all American children.
While the Magna Carta Holy Grail rapper appeared calm on the scene, he says that the verdict still troubled him deeply despite his fame and fortune.
Jay-Z says President Obama’s later remarks on Martin’s killing were “amazing,” but he also described his own moment of horror and being forced to confront racial norms in 2013 when the verdict was handed down.
Speaking during an interview with Elliott Wilson of Rap Radar, the hip-hop mogul explained:
“I was really angry. I didn’t sleep for two days. We all knew there was still a bit of racism in America, but for it to be so blatant was … if you just asked the questions, asked yourself the question, ‘Didn’t Trayvon have a right to stand his ground?’ He was being chased and he fought back.”
Jay spoke to the smears against Martin in the media, heartbreakingly, saying the minor had a right to defend himself against Zimmerman:
“He may have won; that doesn’t mean he’s a criminal… I mean, if you chase me and you try to attack me and I defend myself, how can I be in the wrong? How is that right? This guy went to get some Skittles and go back to watch the All-Star game. He had plans — I’m gonna get this Arizona, get these Skittles and I’m gonna watch the game.”
“He had no intentions of robbing anyone’s home. It’s like, again, a reminder we still got a long way to go. It’s beautiful, because this generation right now, they don’t see color in that way… you have hope that this generation don’t see racism that way, but you still see that that old guard — that whole thing that I’m fighting against — that old guard and their old ideas and their stubborn ways and all that ego and that bullshit is just still there, it still exists. You just hate to believe that.”
Watch above as Jay-Z explains his Trayvon Martin reaction, right around the 12-minute mark.