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March 11, 2019

Jay-Z & Roc Nation Helps Dismiss Case of 6th Grader Who Refused to Stand for Pledge of Allegiance

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In total Jay-Z fashion, he and his entertainment company Roc Nation decided to help in a kid's court case dismissal. The rapper decided to help a sixth grader from being incarcerated after he refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. 

On February 4, Jabari Talbot was arrested for refusing to stand up during the Pledge of Allegiance in his school ceremony. The incident occurred at the Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, where he got into an argument with his substitute teacher. 

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Jabari explained he didn't want to take part in th pledge because "the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people." Appalled by his answer, his teacher, named Ana Alvarez, asked him why he didn't just leave if he hated the country so much. He responded with "They brought me here."

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"Well, you can always go back because I came here from Cuba, and the day I feel I'm not welcome here any more I would find another place to live," she shot back. In the end, Alvarez contacted the school's administration as she "did not want to continue dealing with him."

A few minutes after, the sixth grader was arrested by a school officer, who claimed he was "disruptive" and refused to obey commands from anyone. His arrest affidavit also says that the boy threatened his substitute teacher with physical violence and told the principal and arresting officer that he'd get them both fired. 

Talbot's arrest caught attention from the media, and eventually reached team ROC, a division of Roc Nation aimed to assist victims of racial injustice. They have been involved in numerous high-profile cases, including the "hoodie arrests" in Tennessee, 21 Savage's legal battle against the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, among many others. 

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To handle the case, Team ROC hired Alex Spiro, a famed attorney, who decided to handle the case pro bono. According to the lawyer, 

"Jabari is a courageous and intelligent young man who deserves all the credit for standing up for his beliefs. He should've never been arrested or entangled in this situation—his freedom of speech rights were clearly protected under the 1st Amendment."

ROC Nation talents like Miami Heat's Justise Winslow and Jacksonville Jaguars' Leonard Fournette expressed their support for Jabari, calling the arrest an "injustice," and praising him for his courage. According to Fournette, he decided to reach out to the child to make sure he could help out as much as he could. 

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"When I heard about Jabari's arrest, I immediately had my team reach out so I could offer my support for this unjust moment. Jabari is a bright young student and I applaud him for the strength he has shown during this difficult situation. I know he's a huge football fan and I’m looking forward to having him come to a Jaguars game this season." 

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Thanks to the support given to him, Tablot's case was immediately dropped. 

JAY-Z'S ACTS OF KINDNESS

Being one of the most prominent black artists in the world, Jay-Z is a champion in helping other people. He and his wife Beyonce have been noted doing multiple acts of kindness in the past couple of months, from building schools to providing individual students with scholarships that amount to as much as $100,000 to go to a good university. 

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In one of their concerts, the Boys & Girls Club was part of the attendees, where a girl named Mikayla was seated with the rest of her friends. It turns out, she was to receive a $100,000 grant because of her desire to be a marine biologist, and because of her stellar extra-curricular record. 

In the end, Mikayla couldn't believe that it was her they were describing and enjoyed the rest of the concert feeling grateful as ever for the opportunity given to her. 

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