Following the announcement of a not guilty verdict in the trial of Sanford, Florida resident and neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, many who followed the trial, including rapper Jay-Z, were left with high emotions.
Jay-Z, who appeared at a Trayvon Martin rally last weekend along with wife Beyonce, says he found himself “really angry” following the announcement of the verdict and was unable to sleep for two days. The rapper also addressed race relations in the United States and stated that when it comes to issues concerning race we still have “a long way to go.”
“I was really angry, I didn’t sleep for two days. I was really angry about it, that the thing that we all knew it was still a bit of racism in America, but for it to be so blatant,” said Jay-Z during an interview with Elliott Wilson. “If you just ask the question, ask yourself the question, ‘Didn’t Trayvon have the right to stand his ground?’ He was being chased, he was being chased and fought back. You know, he may have won. That doesn’t mean he’s a criminal, he won. If you chase me and 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 and watch the All-Star game. He had plans…He had no intentions of robbing anyone’s home. It’s just a thing where it’s like again a reminder of we still got a long way to go.”
Prior to speaking on the Zimmerman trial and Martin, the Magna Carta Holy Grail rapper gave his thoughts on comments made by actor Harry Belafonte last year. While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Belafonte called Jay-Z and Beyonce out by name as he spoke on high-profile artists turning “their back on social responsibility.”
In his interview, Jay-Z revealed that he was “offended” by Belafonte’s comments and referred to his presence as “charity.”
“Yeah, I’m offended by that because—This is gonna sound arrogant, but my presence is charity,” Jay-Z revealed. “Just like Obama’s is. Obama provides hope whether he does anything. The hope that he provides for a nation and outside of America is enough. You know what I’m saying? Just being who he is…I feel like Belafonte he just went about it wrong.”
The full interview with Jay-Z can be found below.