Rapper Jay Z (AKA Shawn Carter) is set to team up with the Weinstein Company for a new television documentary series. The new show from Beyonce Knowles’ husband will have six parts and air on Spike TV, which is owned by Paramount.
The teaming is interesting given that everyone knows that Jewish producers got the rap industry off the ground and now the world’s biggest rapper is set to work together with two of the most successful Jewish movie producers of all time — Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob who previously owned Miramax — to make a television show.
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The Weinstein Company and Jay Z’s collaboration will be called “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story.” According to Spike TV, the show will tell the story of Kalief Browder, a young African-American student who spent three years on Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime. It will debut in January, 2017.
Browder was only sixteen years old when he was arrested and spent three years in New York City’s Rikers Island jail before even coming to trial. He was charged with stealing a backpack.
Like with many documentaries, this one will feature first-person accounts, archival footage, and cinematic recreations of key scenes from Browder’s life to achieve what the producers say will be, “a definitive narrative of the shocking story that became a symbolic touchstone for criminal justice activism and reform. ‘TIME: The Kalief Browder Story’ will feature exclusive interviews from a wide range of those connected to the story, from politicians to close friends and family members to social reformers.”
“Kalief Browder is a modern day prophet; his story a failure of the judicial process, ” said Carter. “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.”
“JAY Z, Kevin Kay, Sharon Levy and the entire team at Spike have been incredible partners on this project. What happened to Kalief is heartbreaking, but sadly, in reality, not the first of its kind. This series will take an important look at why Kalief’s life was cut so short, the flaws in our justice system and hopefully will continue some powerful conversations and movements for some much needed reform, ” said TWC co-chairman Harvey Weinstein.
“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.”
The series will be co-produced by Roc Nation. Founded in 2008, Roc Nation describes itself as a full-service entertainment company, inclusive of artist, songwriter, producer and engineer management; music publishing; touring & merchandising; film & television; new business ventures; and a music label. It boasts stars such as Rihanna, Shakira, J. Cole, Santigold, HAIM, Meek Mill, Big Sean and more.
So now we will see if Jay Z — AKA Mr. Beyonce Knowles — has the talent to expand his repertoire into television.