Jay-Z made an unannounced appearance Saturday alongside the parents of Trayvon Martin at the sixth annual Peace Walk & Peace Talk in Florida, where he delivered a short speech paying tribute to the late teenager.
The 4:44 rapper, 48, joined hundreds of demonstrators at the Betty T. Ferguson Amphitheater in Miami Gardens, where he praised Martin for serving as a “beacon of light” to civil rights activists.
“We want to make sure that we stand and support and never forget that Trayvon serves as a beacon of light to the people out here. So you guys will never have to go through the pain and hurt that these guys went through,” Jay-Z told the crowd.
“And his name will sit alongside the greats whom lost their lives to push our culture forward — the Martin Luther Kings, the Gandhis,” he added. “That’s the intention that we set, that his name serves as a beacon of light and hope to push us in a better direction, so thank you guys for your support. Thank you for being here.”
Martin was a 17-year-old teenager in Sanford, Florida when he was shot and killed in February 2012 after getting into a physical altercation with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was later acquitted under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, and Martin’s death became an early impetus for the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Peace Walk & Peace Talk event sees demonstrators gather annually to protest against racial injustice and gun violence.
Jay-Z recently produced a six-part miniseries on Martin’s life, called Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story. The series — originally set up at The Weinstein Co. — is based on the books Suspicion Nation, by attorney Lisa Bloom, and Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin, by Martin’s parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.
The series is set to air on the Paramount Network later this year.
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