An activist and film-maker who has worked with Jay Z claims that the hip-hop star contributed “tens of thousands” of dollars to free protesters who could not pay their bail following anti-police brutality demonstrations in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri. The activist, Dream Hampton, later deleted her tweets and called them “error-ridden”, but confirmed to the Guardian that Jay Z helped bail protesters out.
Hampton’s original tweets claimed Jay Z (given name Shawn Carter) and his wife Beyoncé helped supply bail money for protesters, and discussed the difficulties of organizing when protesters are thrown in jail.
They were later deleted, but were screengrabbed by the hip-hop magazineComplex.
“I’m going to tweet this and I don’t care if Jay gets mad,” wrote Hampton, at 8.38am on Sunday. “When we needed money for bail for Baltimore protesters, I asked hit Jay up [sic], as I had for Ferguson, wired tens of thousands in mins.”
Another tweet read: “When [Black Lives Matter] needed infrastructure money for the many chapters that we’re growing like beautiful dandelions, Carters wrote a huge check.”
She continued: “… and more stuff, too much to list actually, that they always insist folk keep quiet.”
Hampton wrote that the alleged donations were important when protesters were being held on exorbitant bail. For example, in Baltimore, teenagers photographed smashing a police car were held on $500,000 bail.
“They’re waging war on black resistance in a multitude of ways, many of them financially. Protest is literally punished with tariffs,” Hampton wrote. “When they fine and arrest people for protesting, more opportunities for exploitation by the state are possible with each encounter.”
Hampton then deleted the tweets. “Welp, I just got the ‘can you shut the fuk up & head to brunch’ text. Gonna erase my error ridden rant. Hope you got your little screenshot,” she wrote.
In an email, Hampton told the Guardian that Jay Z helped bail protesters out of jail, but did not provide specifics on who or when people might have been bailed out. The Guardian has not independently confirmed the reports with Jay Z.
Hampton worked with Jay Z on his 2010 autobiography Decoded. Her latest project is a documentary about the killing of a black transgender woman in Detroit.
Hampton has organized celebrity protests as recently as December 2014, when players from the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat NBA teams wore shirts reading “I can’t breathe”, MTV News reported.
The shirts’ message was a reference to the last words of Staten Island, New York, resident Eric Garner, who died after being placed in a chokehold by an NYPD officer.