Rapper and entrepreneur Shawn “Jay Z” Carter’s latest collaboration with producer Harvey Weinstein will focus on Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old Black boy whose 2012 death at the hands of George Zimmerman lit the fuse of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Variety reported yesterday (March 23) that Jay Z and The Weinstein Company won a bidding war for the rights to two books about Martin: “Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin” and “Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It.” Martin’s parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, pushed into activism after their son’s death and wrote “Rest in Power” about his life and their journey through grief to seek accountability. Trial attorney Lisa Bloom wrote “Suspicion Nation,” which examines Zimmerman’s trial with participant interviews and deduces some of the state of Florida’s prosecutorial errors.
According to Variety, the books will be adapted into a six-part documentary series produced by Jay Z. The Weinstein Company will co-develop the narrative feature film. These still-untitled projects are part of Jay Z’s two-year production deal with The Weinstein Company. They partnered on another docuseries, “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story,” about the Black teen incarcerated for three years without trial in Rikers Island jail for allegedly stealing a backpack. Like Martin’s death, Browder’s incarceration and 2015 suicide prompted outrage about systemic criminalization of Black youth. That series’ remaining two episodes will air on Spike TV on March 29 and April 5.