Jay Z Shuns Donald Trump Question, Recalls Meeting with Kalief Browder at Sundance Film Festival

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Spike TV
Jay Z Carter speaks at The Marc Theatre during Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 25, 2017 in Park City, Utah. 

On Wednesday night (Jan. 25), Jay Z attended the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in support of his new docu-series, Spike TV's TIME: The Kalief Browder Story. During his Q&A session with the media, he shunned a reporter who asked about President Donald Trump. 

"Not gonna answer that," said Jay Z when asked about his thoughts on the 45th POTUS. Quickly after he deflected the question, TIME executive producer, Harry Weinstein, intervened and ended the session. 

Last November, Jay Z and his wife Beyonce publicly supported Hillary Clinton. In support of the Democratic nominee, he held a concert in Cleveland days before the election. The show featured performances from Jay Z, Beyonce, Big Sean, and Chance The Rapper. After the show, Trump blasted the Brooklyn rapper at a Pennsylvania rally for using profanity during his performance.

"We don't need Jay Z to fill up arenas... we do it the old-fashioned way," Trump said. "I actually like Jay Z, but the language last night, ohhhh... I was thinking, maybe I'll just try -- should I use that language for one of mine?"

During his Q&A, Jay Z opened up to the Associated Press and revealed that he first learned of Kalief Browder's story through a profile conducted by The New Yorker. "It was meant to happen," he told AP at Sundance. "[Browder] came to my office. I wanted to see him, give him encouragement for those three years of life that he had missed – just offer encouragement and anything I could do for him." 

The docu-series will shed light on Browder's life as a 16-year-old African American teen who was accused of stealing a backpack. He was arrested and placed in Rikers Island for three years without a trial. Browder spent two years in solitary confinement. After being released, he committed suicide. TIME: The Kalief Browder Story will air on Spike TV on Wednesday, March 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Sundance 2017

Take a look at the awkward exchange below, in addition to highlights from last night's event. 

Sundance 2017


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.