Jay Z and Spike TV have teamed up for a new six-part docu-series that chronicles the story of Kalief Browder. Arrested at the age of 16 over allegations of stealing a backpack Browder was ultimately imprisoned and spent over three years in Rikers Island (two of which were spent in solitary confinement) with no set date for trial. The case was eventually dismissed in June 2013, but Brpwder struggled with mental health issues and tragically committed suicide at the young age of 22.
Jay Z who met Browder in prison was “thrown off course” when he heard the news of the youngster’s untimely passing, and immediately began drawing up plans with producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein in an attempt to bring the story to wider a consciousness.
In a recent press conference Jay Z said:
“I got a call from Chaka [Pilgrim] and she told me that he had taken his own life. I was thrown off course. I was asking myself, this story doesn’t end like this, it’s not supposed to end this way. That’s not how the story goes. Not in the movies, not in real life. Shortly after things start happening, Obama starts talking about a crime bill and eliminating solitary confinement for minors. I know that was Kalief. All of these things start happening and we came across these fabulous filmmakers and everything started happening the way it should have been.”
TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, the series debuts on Spike in January 2017 and will feature interviews with Browder’s friends and family, as well as prison security footage and first-person accounts.