NEW YORK, May 18 — Rap mogul Jay Z has quietly used his wealth to post bail for people arrested in protests across the United States against police, an author close to him said yesterday.
Dream Hampton, a writer and activist who worked with Jay Z on his 2010 memoir "Decoded," made the revelations in a series of messages on Twitter that were deleted but were posted by the hip-hop magazine Complex.
"When we needed money for bail for Baltimore protesters, I... hit Jay up, as I had for Ferguson (and he) wired tens of thousands" of dollars within minutes, read one tweet.
She also tweeted that Jay Z and his pop superstar wife Beyonce wrote a "huge check" to support the burgeoning "Black Lives Matter" movement aimed at stopping police brutality.
Protests spread last year after a white police officer shot dead African American teenager Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson.
Major demonstrations, some turning violent, erupted last month in Baltimore after another African American man, Freddie Gray, died from a spinal injury sustained in police custody.
The tweets appeared aimed at defending Jay Z and Beyonce, who have faced accusations from some activists that they have only paid lip service to the cause without tapping into the couple’s estimated US$1 billion net worth.
Hampton later wrote that she deleted the tweets because Jay Z "would be pissed to see I was offering evidence" that he is taking action.
Jay Z on Saturday performed in New York as an exclusive for Tidal, the music streaming service he has launched with fellow stars.
In a freestyle segment, Jay Z paid homage to Brown and Gray — and belittled Tidal’s rivals Spotify and Apple.
Jay Z and Beyonce met with Brown and Gray’s families last week at a peace concert in Baltimore by Prince, leaving without making public appearances.
The power couple are also strong supporters of President Barack Obama, throwing a multimillion-dollar fundraiser for him during his 2012 campaign. — AFP