Jay-Z and Kanye West tackle serious fare several times throughout Watch the Throne, most notably on the track “Murder to Excellence” in which Jay-Z dedicates his rhyme to the memory of a college football player on the cusp of his 21st birthday.
Danroy Henry, forever immortalized in verse by Jay-Z’s opening line on the track, was a student at Pace University in suburban Westchester County, New York, and a member of its football team. During a celebratory night with friends at a local bar last October after a Pace win, Henry reportedly ran two officers down with his car who then ended up on the hood of his vehicle and began to open fire, killing Henry and injuring two passengers. Pleasantville police officer Aaron Hess, who was found to have fired the fatal shots at Henry, was given an officer of the year award. In February, Hess was cleared of any wrongdoing by grand jury although the Henry family is still pursuing justice in the case.
Friends of Henry — affectionately known as DJ — Henry gathered Friday at New York City’s Grand Central station to stage a peaceful gathering in the memory of their fallen friend and also cleverly timed their call against police brutality with the release of Watch The Throne as well. Organized partly by Claire Finnegan, sister to one of DJ’s teammates Patrick, the gathering of friends honoring DJ’s life numbered about 50 people, according to Finnegan.
“DJ was really one of the best guys you’d ever meet. He was a good kid and so upstanding,” shared Finnegan in a phone interview with MTV News. “He was one of those guys who would give you anything he had. He was just that good of a guy.” Finnegan further shared that their gathering was disrupted by police officers although an off-duty cop was said to have shown support to the group’s cause. With golden balloons adorned with the Jay-Z line “This is to the memory of Danroy Henry” and “Watch the Throne” on the adjacent side, the gatherers all timed the release of the helium-filled balloons into the air.
Although the memorial was met with some resistance, Finnegan vowed that more public demonstrations are to come and informed MTV News that Henry’s parents have started the DJ Dream Fund in Henry’s home state of Massachusetts, which will strive to provide sports-related resources to children and to remember DJ via his love of athletics.
For more information regarding events in memory of Danroy Henry, please visit Justice For DJ.