Giving Compass' Take:

• The author highlights the philanthropic efforts of celebrity Jay-Z as he has been donating money from concerts, giving to organizations he believes in and creating short films to catalyze change over the past decade. 

• How can philanthropists engage with more celebrities to create strategic partnerships that help guide all types of donors toward data-driven impact philanthropy?

• Read about other celebrity philanthropists funding efforts toward issues like education.

While JAY-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, was busy exploring his inner life across dozens of songs, he was also furthering his philanthropic work and speaking out politically.

More often than not, his art and activism have been intertwined.

He released a short animated documentary in September 2016 through the New York Times, called “The War on Drugs Is an Epic Fail,” in which he describes the racist patterns of the criminal justice system.

Then he produced a miniseries on Kalief Browder, a man who was arrested at 16 on a false accusation and forced to spend more than 1,000 days in New York’s notorious Rikers Island prison, more than two years of which were in solitary confinement, which the United Nations considers a form of torture. Browder died by suicide a year after being released.

JAY-Z’s next venture, out this summer, is a miniseries that explores the murder of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

These productions are as much about clearing up disputed narratives as they are about informing people so that they can get involved and take action.  

In 2016, he donated $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter through a concert hosted by his streaming service Tidal. These efforts seem to be paying off. Prison and bail reform are increasingly mainstream ideas, with progressive attorneys general and judges being elected across the country.

Later this year, at the Global Citizen Festival Mandela 100, JAY-Z will honor one of the greatest humanitarians in recent history — Nelson Mandela. Like JAY-Z, Mandela’s interests were far-ranging, encompassing humans across the world, and ultimately aimed at achieving universal equality.

We have a responsibility to push the conversation forward until we're all equal,” JAY-Z said in his Times interview. “Till we're all equal in this place. Because until everyone's free, no one's free, and that's just a fact.”

Read the full article about Jay-Z's philanthropy by Joe McCarthy at Global Citizen