Report: Jay-Z Paid Ferguson, Baltimore Protesters’ Bail

Charles Krupa/AP
Charles Krupa/AP

Jay-Z and Beyoncé quietly donated tens of thousands of dollars to pay bail for protesters arrested in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, according to an author and collaborator close to the couple.

Dream Hampton, a writer and self-described social justice organizer who worked with Jay-Z on his 2010 autobiography Decoded, posted a series of tweets Sunday explaining that far from remaining quiet, as critics had charged, music’s biggest power couple anonymously “wired tens of thousands” in bail money to support the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

“I’m going to tweet this and I don’t care if Jay gets mad,” wrote Hampton in the first of a series of tweets since deleted but captured by Complex.

“When we needed money for bail for Baltimore protesters, I asked hit Jay up, as I had for Ferguson, wired tens of thousands in mins[sic],” she continued. “When BLM (#BlackLivesMatter) needed infrastructure money for the many chapters that we’re growing like beautiful dandelions, Carters wrote a huge check[sic].”

Hampton added that Jay and Beyoncé contributed “more stuff, too much to list actually, that they always insist folk keep quiet.”

Hampton eventually deleted the tweets, “because ppl believe what they want to,” but said “it’s true they gave, which is why I tweeted it.”

It appears Hampton’s tweets were an effort to defend Jay-Z and Beyoncé from criticism that they and other celebrities have not done enough for the social justice movement. In a 2012 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, music legend Harry Belafonte singled out the couple by name, saying they had “turned their back[s] on social responsibility.”

In addition to the bail money, Jay-Z’s other philanthropic efforts include the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides scholarships and financial assistance to people unable to pay for college.

The couple are also big supporters of President Obama; in 2012, a party hosted by the pair at the swanky 40/40 club in Manhattan netted $4 million for Obama’s reelection campaign.


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