Time and Punishment: A Town Hall Discussion of The Kalief Browder Story
By Allison Raymond
On Wednesday, March 8th, Professor Joy Reid’s students from her Race Gender and the Media course had “class” at Viacom Studios in Times Square for an amazing last-minute field trip. Professor Reid had been asked to be on a town hall panel about Jay Z and Harvey Weinstein’s documentary series: “TIME: The Kalief Browder Story.”
Once we made our way through the crowds in Times Square to get to the building that houses MTV, Nickelodeon, and VH1, we were directed through security to watch the first part of the documentary series. It was a humbling experience to watch this documentary with so many of my classmates instead of on TV at home; we were all really excited to be there. The documentary is hard to watch, but so important to talk about.
After the showing, we had the amazing opportunity to be a part of the live audience for the live town hall discussion on Spike TV with Jay Z, Harvey Weinstein, and others. We talked not only about Kalief’s unjustified imprisonment in Rikers, but also about the tragedy of his passing, and the legacy he left behind. It was so inspiring to see all of these people gathering around this cause and creating a discussion about it.
It was surreal to watch our professor casually talk to “Jay” between cuts and see her fans greet her after the shoot. When we were all gathered outside of the building and she was telling us to have a great break, there were people behind us trying to reach their phones over our heads to get a picture of her. It was a reminder of how lucky we are to have such an amazing professional as a teacher here in New York (although we already completely felt that way)!
As we walked through Times Square to take the subway back to our dorms, I felt emotionally drained from the heavy discussion of the town hall, but I also felt lucky to have experienced it. I’m so grateful to be a part of this program that gives us these once-in-a-lifetime experiences that teach us so much.