Jay Z Appears at Trayvon Martin Rally, Dedicates Song to Slain Teen at Yankee Stadium
Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake also offer support after George Zimmerman's acquittal
While other artists have displayed anger and frustration over George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Jay Z took a subtler, less explicit route while showing support for the dead teen and his family. On Saturday, July 20, Jay and Beyonce attended a New York City rally alongside Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, and Rev. Al Sharpton, though they declined to speak to the large crowd.
“Jay Z and Beyoncé said they didn’t want to speak and they didn’t come for a photo op,” Sharpton said during his speech, according to the Huffington Post. “Beyoncé put a beautiful message up on Instagram. Let me tell you that before a lot of you were down, Jay Z always supported us. Jay Z told me, ‘I’m a father. Beyoncé is a mother.’ We all feel the pain and apprehension — the law must protect everybody, or it doesn’t protect anybody. We do not come from hate, we come from love of children.”
The rally was one of 100 held across the nation to protest the controversial Stand Your Grand laws, which allow people to use lethal force if they feel they’re threatened. Under Florida law, Zimmerman was within his legal rights to shoot and kill the unarmed Martin during a confrontation that started when Zimmerman followed the black 17-year-old for several blocks, allegedly believing he was a burglar.
Jay Z also brought his support to the stage alongside Justin Timberlake, closing out their Toronto and Yankee Stadium shows by dedicating “Young Forever” to Martin (watch the video from Yankee Stadium below). Beyoncé also held a moment of silence for Martin during a Nashville show last Saturday, when news of the verdict broke.
Other musical tributes to Martin included Bruce Springsteen dedicating “American Skin (41 Shots)” to Martin during a show in Ireland. “I want to send this one out as a letter back home. For justice for Trayvon Martin,” the Boss said of the song, which was originally written in 1999 about the NYPD’s shooting of the unarmed Amadou Diallo in which all the officers were acquitted of wrongdoing. Stevie Wonder also announced that he would boycott Florida and any other state that has Stand Your Ground laws.
“I decided today that until the Stand Your Ground law is abolished in Florida I will never perform there again,” Wonder said. “As a matter of fact, wherever I find that law exists, I will not perform in that state or in that part of the world.”