In The Know

Jay-Z’s team helps get case dismissed against 6th grader who refused to stand for Pledge of Allegiance: report

Getty Images

The philanthropic division of Jay-Z’s entertainment company reportedly helped secure the dismissal of a case against an 11-year-old boy who was arrested after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.

Complex reported Tuesday that Team ROC helped Jabari Talbot, a sixth-grade boy from Lakeland, Fla., claim the recent legal victory after enlisting the services of famed lawyer Alex Spiro to handle his case pro bono. 

{mosads}”Jabari is a courageous and intelligent young man who deserves all the credit for standing up for his beliefs,” Spiro told the magazine in a statement. “He should’ve never been arrested or entangled in this situation—his freedom of speech rights were clearly protected under the 1st Amendment.”

Officials had apprehended Talbot a month ago after he reportedly refused to stand for the pledge at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy. 

At the time, Jabari told his teacher, Ana Alvarez, during a heated exchange that he would not stand for the pledge because the “flag was racist and the national anthem was offensive to black people,” according to Bay News 9.

Alvarez then reportedly asked Jabari why he didn’t go live in another country.

“They brought me here,” Jabari answered, according to the Tampa TV station. 

“Well you can always go back, because I came here from Cuba and the day I feel I’m not welcome here anymore I would find another place to live,” Alvarez replied.

The teacher said she then had to “call the office because [she] did not want to continue dealing with him.”

According to an arrest affidavit seen by the local station, Jabari was arrested shortly after the incident by a school resource officer for being disruptive. The affidavit also reportedly claimed that Jabari threatened the teacher with physical violence.

A number of high-profile figures have drawn attention to the story.

Miami Heat player Justise Winslow, who is managed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, called Jabari’s arrest an “injustice” in a statement to Complex. 

Jacksonville Jaguars player Leonard Fournette, who is also managed by the entertainer’s company, told the magazine that Jabari “is a bright young student and I applaud him for the strength he has shown during this difficult situation.”

“I know he’s a huge football fan and I’m looking forward to having him come to a Jaguars game this season,” he said.

Jabari’s mother, Dhakkira Talbot, also expressed her gratitude to entertainers and athletes who have highlighted her son’s in a statement to the magazine. 

“My son and I are grateful for all the athletes, entertainers, Roc Nation and community of supporters that have raised awareness about this injustice and showed their support—both publicly and privately,” Talbot said.

“Although Jabari’s case has been dismissed, I do want people to know this isn’t just about my son—this prejudice happens to African-American kids all across the country. The fight isn’t over, which is why I have a civil rights complaint pending with the U.S. Department of Education. At the end of the day, I want to ensure that no child ever has to experience this injustice again and we will appreciate everyone’s continued support,” she added.


The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video