RocNation CEO Jay-Z along with rap entrepreneur Yo Gotti are presenting a four-part documentary series “Exposing Parchman,” to highlight the horrors and abuses within the notorious Parchman Correctional Facility in Mississippi.
Jay-Z Takes On Mississippi Penitentiary System
Roc Nation announced the four-part limited docu-series “Exposing Parchman” received the green light from A&E Networks. The series is set to follow Jay-Z, Yo-Gotti, Team Roc – the philanthropist arm of Roc Nation, and lawyers as they collaborate with inmates to expose the intolerable conditions and continuous abuse in the Mississippi Penitentiary, better known as “Parchman.” The new series shines light on the evolving lawsuit against Parchman and looks inside the rundown prison. It is set to follow up to 29 inmates and uncover the untold dishonorable history of the facility.
Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming for A&E released a statement saying. “A&E has the privilege to partner with Roc Nation to tell the truly urgent story of Parchman Prison as we continue our commitment to impactful programming. The series is emblematic of larger issues within the U.S. criminal justice system, and we hope it spurs desperately needed awareness both at Parchman Prison, and nationwide.”
The documentary series will be coming soon to A&E, no official date has been released.
Mississippi Prison Crisis
In December 2019, Parchman began making national headlines for its high death toll, violence and neglected inmates. The conditions of the prison are so remorseless, it has been called one of the worst detention centers in the world. A prison crisis swept across Mississippi when multiple fights broke out at the Chickasaw County Regional Correctional Facility, South Mississippi Correctional Institution and Parchman, causing a statewide prison lockdown. Going into the New Year the lockdown was lifted for all prisons except Parchman where the highest total of deaths occured. Regardless of the lockdown, riots and fights in the prison continued.
During the violence, brave and hopeless inmates sent out a cry for help on contraband cell phone footage to show the conditions inside the prison. Videos swept social media getting the attention of Hip Hop celebrities and local activists. Atlanta-born rapper T.I. took to his Instagram to shine light on the prison by reposting videos from inmates. “Love and HipHop: New York” cast member Yandy, joined local activist group “Until Freedom” to demand Mississippi to Shut down Parchman Prison entirely. Later that year, Yandy took to Instagram to announce that after constant protest, one of the units in the prison was finally closed with no access. This was a start to receiving help for the inmates.
A Cry For Help Answered
The fight didn’t stop there. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Yo-Gotti shared his outrage about the prison, calling the conditions “inhumane” during an interview with Power 105.1 radio show “The Breakfast Club.” Soon after the interview Yo-Gotti joined forces with Jay-Z, Team Roc, and lawyers, filing a civil rights lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections on behalf of 29 inmates.
In documents obtained by TMZ the suit seeks damages for the inmates, claiming the inmates are exposed to serious harm and left unprotected due to the understaffing of guards. Backing Yo-Gotti’s claim of inhumane living, according to the suit Parchman does not have enough mattresses for the inmates, the cells are covered in black mold and raw sewage spilling onto the floors. Not to mention a water problem similar to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Team Roc is declaring the drinking water for inmates fails to meet federal safety standards. An order was set in place to force the Mississippi Department of Corrections to increase staffing, clean up sewage, debris, and all other issues addressed in the civil lawsuit.
The case began to grow as hundreds of past inmates and families are joining the complaint. The flight still continues for inmates. The Parchman documentary will further bring light to the horrors in this prison and build further support for Team Roc’s prison reform initiative.
Jay-Z Urges “Rap Music On Trial” Bill
Besides his advocacy with the Parchman Prison, Jay-Z and Meek Mill are urging NY lawmakers to pass the “Rap Music On Trial” Bill to prevent courts from using lyrics to prosecute alleged crimes. The social justice activists enlisted the help of a host of other artists to help push the cause.