As the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police has become the flashpoint of weekend protests in nearly every state in the U.S., Jay-Z reached out to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to tell him that “Justice needs to be served here.” Walz then announced that state attorney general Keith Ellison will head up prosecutions connected to Floyd’s death, rather than the local county attorney.
Both Walz and Jay talked about the conversation on Sunday.
“I received a call [Saturday] night — to understand how big this was — from Jay-Z,” Walz said. “Not international performer, but dad stressing to me that justice needs to be served. It was so incredibly human… It was a dad, and I think quite honestly a black man whose visceral pain of this that he knew. His words summarized that justice needs to be served here.
“He said he feels the compassion and the humanity of these folks who are speaking,” Walz continued. “He knows the world is watching, and how Minnesota handles this is going to have an impact across the country. It’s a positive sign that someone of a stature, that has a presence like that, is focused in the moment of what Minnesotans are focused on.”
On Sunday night, Jay issued a statement about his conversation with the governor.
“After our very earnest conversation, thank you to Governor Walz for doing what’s right and calling in Attorney General Keith Ellison to take over the George Floyd case,” he wrote. “Earlier today, Governor Walz mentioned having a human conversation with me — a dad and a black man in pain. YES, I am human, a father and a black man in pain and I am not the only one. Now I, along with an entire country in pain, call upon AG Ellison to do the right thing and prosecute all those responsible for the murder of George Floyd to the fullest extent of the law. This is just a first step. I am more determined to fight for justice than any fight my would-be oppressors may have.
“I prevail on every politician, prosecutor and officer in the country to have the courage to do what is right,” he concluded. “Have the courage to look at us as humans, dads, brothers, sisters and mothers in pain and look at yourselves.”
Late on Friday, Beyonce posted a video on Instagram calling for justice in the wake of Floyd’s death. “We need justice for George Floyd. We all witnessed his murder in broad daylight. We’re broken and we’re disgusted. We cannot normalize this pain,” she said.