Jay-Z bought full-page adverts in newspapers across the US to honour George Floyd

The black-and-white ad quotes Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s speech “How Long, Not Long” and is signed by the families of racial brutality victims and civil rights organisations.

4 June 2020
Reading Time
2 minute read


As protests against racial injustice and police brutality continue in the US and internationally, and people turn to social media to show solidarity in the form of Blackout Tuesday and sharing important resources for supporting Black Lives Matter, Jay-Z has taken a different approach. Perhaps aiming for a demographic that might find their news from more traditional means than social media, the rapper has taken out full-page adverts in several major newspapers across the US in dedication to George Floyd, quoting a speech by Dr Martin Luther King Jr and signed by family members of racial brutality victims as well as several civil rights organisations.

On 2 June, the letter appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Enquirer, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Denver Post; then in 11 other newspapers, including The Boston Globe, Sacramento Bee and Miami Herald, on 3 June. It was organised through the philanthropic arm of Jay-Z’s company Roc Nation, called Team Roc.

“Deep down in our nonviolent creed is the conviction – that there are some things so dear, some things so precious, some things so eternally true, that they’re worth dying for,” the ad reads, quoting King’s speech “How Long, Not Long” made in March 1965 on the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama after the Selma to Montgomery march. King gave the speech when he was 36 years old – three years before he was assassinated.

“A man dies when he refuses to stand up for that which is right,” it continues. “A man dies when he refuses to stand up for justice. A man dies when he refuses to take a stand for that which is true.”

It is signed by George Floyd’s family lawyer, as well as groups like the Innocence Project, Van Jones’ Reform Alliance and the Women’s Global Initiative, and the parents of Botham Jean, DJ Henry and Antwon Rose II – other Black victims of police brutality.

If you’re looking for ways to support the Black Lives Matter movement, our evolving list of resources features petitions to sign, funds and charities to donate to, and other means for educating yourself and those around you.

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About the Author

Jenny Brewer

Jenny joined the editorial team as It’s Nice That’s first news editor in April 2016. Having studied 3D Design, she has spent the last ten years working in design journalism. Contact her with news stories relating to the creative industries on news@itsnicethat.com.

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