In the weeks since the verdict was reached in the case of George Zimmerman and the shooting death of late Florida teen Trayvon Martin, rapper Jay Z has been particularly vocal on the matter. The 43-year-old artist attended a rally for Martin with his wife Beyonce in New York City last week, also taking the time to dedicate his song “Forever Young” to the deceased teen at a recent NYC show with Justin Timberlake.
Now, Jay Z is opening up on the matter. In a recent interview with hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson, Hov spoke about his reaction to the case.
“I was really angry, I didn’t sleep for two days,” Jay Z admitted. “I was really angry about it that the thing that we all knew that there was still a bit of racism in America, but for it to be so blatant. 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 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 intention of robbing anyone’s home.”
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“We all know it was wrong. It was wrong. This guy’s not a professional,” Jay Z said of the recently acquitted Zimmerman. “You’re not a professional to profile someone. A professional law enforcement officer is taught not to profile. This guy’s a novice. This guy’s a f–king mall cop.”
Jay Z went on, speaking about what the incident said about the current state of race relations in the country. “[It’s] a reminder of we still got a long way to go,” he said. “It’s beautiful because this generation right now, this generation, they don’t see color in that way. We’re a bit removed from those racist feelings because again, it’s hard to teach racism when your child is out [at] clubs. It’s integrated and the music we listen to is the same. All our feelings and our anxieties and all those things are more similar now. We have hope that this generation don’t see racism that way.”
“You still see that the old guard, that whole thing I’m fighting against,” Jay Z added. “That old guard and their old ideas and their stubborn ways and all their ego and all their bullshit — it’s just still there. It still exists and you just hate to believe that.”
Jay spoke highly of President Obama’s recent words on the matter, saying, “Amazing, amazing, amazing because it’s hard in politics to really just make a statement as a human. I felt he was very admirable because he made a statement as a father and as a black man and as someone who had compassion for the things that we go through because he’s been through them before.”
Jay Z also criticized Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground laws before adding of Martin, “His memory will live on… hopefully this is the moment that changed that [Stand Your Ground] law, that changed the way we interact with each other.”