Rap mogul Jay Z has quietly used his wealth to post bail for people arrested in protests across the United States against police excesses, an author close to him said.
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 she later deleted but were reproduced 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 improving police treatment of African Americans.
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 causes without tapping into the couple’s estimated $1 billion net worth.
Jay Z, who grew up poor in New York City, has made no secret of his concern about police actions.
In December he met New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to press for criminal justice reform and was earlier reported to have set up a fund for the education of the children of Sean Bell, an African American shot dead by police on his wedding day in 2006.
Jay Z and Beyonce met Brown and Gray’s families last week at a peace concert in Baltimore by Prince but left without making public appearances.
One exception to the low profile is politics. The power couple have been strong supporters of President Barack Obama, throwing a party during his 2012 re-election campaign that raised an estimated $4 million.