Roc Nation is doing major things.
The philanthropic arm of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label rallied behind Jabari Talbot, the sixth grade boy who was arrested last month after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at his school in Lakeland, Florida. The student got into an exchange with a substitute teacher and according to Bay Area News 9, Talbot explained he would not take part in the pledge because “the flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people.”
When the sub asked why wouldn’t he simply leave the country if he hated it so much, Talbot reportedly told her, “They brought me here.”
“Well you can always go back because I came here from Cuba,” she told him, “and the day I feel I’m not welcome here any more I would find another place to live.
Talbot was arrested shortly after the exchange by a school resource officer who claims the young man was being disruptive and refused to obey commands. According to an arrest affidavit, Jabari also threatened the sub with physical violence and told the principal and arresting officer that he’d get them fired.
The child’s arrest made national news and caught the attention of Team Roc, the Roc Nation division who is dedicated to assisting victims of perceived racial injustice. They’ve worked on a number of cases from the “hoodie arrests” in Tennessee, 21 Savage’s legal battle against ICE and more.
Alex Spiro, the man Team Roc lended to support 21 Savage’s case, worked Talbot’s case pro bono and through he and Team Roc’s hard work, the case was dismissed.
“Jabari is a courageous and intelligent young man who deserves all the credit for standing up for his beliefs,” Spiro said in a statement. “He should’ve never been arrested or entangled in this situation—his freedom of speech rights were clearly protected under the 1st Amendment.”
His mother, Dhakira Talbot thanked Roc Nation and Team Roc for their efforts.
“My son and I are grateful for all the athletes, entertainers, Roc Nation and community of supporters that have raised awareness about this injustice and showed their support—both publicly and privately […]” she said. “Although Jabari’s case has been dismissed, I do want people to know this isn’t just about my son—this prejudice happens to African-American kids all across the country. The fight isn’t over, which is why I have a civil rights complaint pending with the U.S. Department of Education. At the end of the day, I want to ensure that no child ever has to experience this injustice again and we will appreciate everyone’s continued support.”