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Jay-Z Wins Court Battle Over Lack Of Black Arbitrators In Legal System

Jay-Z is currently riding a wave of public adulation after the release of Meek Mill’s new album Championships on which the soon-to-be 49-year-old (his birth is in three days on December 4) spit some of his most poignant lyrics ever in a prolific list of on-the-nose verses over the years.

One with a penchant for puns might call Jay’s verse — a victory.

We say that to say, that the win that Shawn Corey Carter got in rap is nothing compared to the “historic” win that he got in court this week. According to Rolling Stone, on Wednesday Jay-Z won a battle in court that is seemingly unheard of. He argued that a lack of African-American arbitrators left him potentially exposed to unconscious racial bias.

Jay is being sued by Iconix, the company that he sold is clothing brand Rocawear to back in 2007 and in that agreement, there must have been a clause about future clothing brands. Iconix argues that Roc Nations paper plane hats violate those terms. Jay countersued Iconix arguing that clause applied to Rocawear, not Roc Nation. Arbitration ensues. All parties involved are to eliminate names from a list of 12 in order to choose one. Problem is, when looking at the list Jay couldn’t readily identify a single African-American name. When he brought his concern to the American Arbitration Association who chose the original list of 12, they went through a list of 200 eligible arbitrators and guess how many African-Americans they found…

Three, and one of those three had a conflict of interest and was thus rendered ineligible. Here’s what Jay’s lawyer, Alex Spiro, argued to the court:

“…deprives litigants of color of a meaningful opportunity to have their claims heard by a panel of arbitrators reflecting their backgrounds and life experience,” putting Jay-Z at risk of unconscious bias by white arbitrators toward black defendants. If unresolved, the issue would “deprive black litigants like Mr. Carter and his companies of the equal protection of the laws,” he said.”

Apparently, this is a thing that doesn’t happen very often where the legal system is forced to look at the disparities in the process it claims to uphold.

We love this song.


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