JAY-Z continues to do advocacy work behind the scene.
Roc Nation has hired a high powered legal team to represent the 6h grader, Jabari Talbot, in his Pledge of Allegiance case, and now we can report that the case has been dismissed. Talbot was arrested on February 4th when he refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida. The situation escalated to the point where cops were called in, and the young boy arrested as a result.
The 11-year-old was eventually removed from the classroom and ultimately suspended for three days for allegedly disobeying commands and being disruptive in class. As if that was bad enough, Talbot was taken to a juvenile detention center where he was charged for resisting arrest and disrupting a school function.
JAY-Z‘s company, Roc Nation, got wind of the situation and decided to spend its own money to hire attorneys to represent the 11-year-old boy and ultimately have the case completely dismissed. Talbot said he refused to stand for the pledge because he thinks that the “flag was racist” and that the “national anthem was offensive to black people.”
Complex reported that the philanthropic division of Roc Nation hired attorney Alex Spiro to represent Talbot. “Jabari is a courageous and intelligent young man who deserves all the credit for standing up for his beliefs,” Spiro said. “He should’ve never been arrested or entangled in this situation—his freedom of speech rights were clearly protected under the 1st Amendment.”
Jabari Talbot’s mother, Dhakira Talbot, released a statement thanking Roc Nation and the numerous celebrities and community members who showed them support and help bring awareness.
“My son and I are grateful for all the athletes, entertainers, Roc Nation and community of supporters that have raised awareness about this injustice and showed their support—both publicly and privately,” Dhakira Talbot said. “Although Jabari’s case has been dismissed, I do want people to know this isn’t just about my son—this prejudice happens to African-American kids all across the country. The fight isn’t over, which is why I have a civil rights complaint pending with the U.S. Department of Education. At the end of the day, I want to ensure that no child ever has to experience this injustice again and we will appreciate everyone’s continued support.”