WATCH: Jay-Z Speaks At Trayvon Martin Peace Walk
Jay-Z made a surprise appearance in Miami on Saturday at the sixth annual peace rally for the slain teenager Trayvon Martin, who was shot at the age of 17 in 2012.
The peace walk honours victims of gun violence, like Martin, who Jay-Z described as a “beacon of light” to anyone else who has been affected by a similar tragedy.
The rapper stood alongside Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, onstage at the Betty T. Ferguson Amphitheater while delivering a short speech to the hundreds of marchers in attendance.
"We want to make sure that we stand and support and never forget that Trayvon serves as a beacon of light to the people out here. So you guys will never have to go through the pain and hurt that these guys went through" Jay said.
"And his name will sit alongside the greats whom lost their lives to push our culture forward — the Martin Luther Kings, the Gandhis. That’s the intention that we set, that his name serves as a beacon of light and hope to push us in a better direction, so thank you guys for your support. Thank you for being here.”
The unarmed 17-year-old Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida in 2012 by neighbourhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. Zimmerman was controversially acquitted of the murder as a result of Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which resulted in racially charged protests across the US.
Martin would have turned 23 this month.
Last March, the 4:44 rapper acquired the rights to two books related to Martin – Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It by Lisa Bloom and Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin penned by Martin's parents – which will both serve as the basis of a six-part docuseries and a feature film produced by Jay and the Weinstein Company.
Watch Jay-Z’s speech below: