Unveiling the Unseen: ‘Exposing Parchman’ Reveals Hidden Human Rights Abuses


The groundbreaking documentary “Exposing Parchman“, co-produced by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, uncovers the human rights abuses taking place at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, often referred to as Parchman Farm. Having made its debut on A&E June 17, 2023, the powerful film is now available for streaming.

The documentary presents a chilling view of the penitentiary, with prisoners living without basic necessities like power and water. At one point, Jay-Z starkly remarks that individuals are losing their lives in these conditions, only for their deaths to be concealed. The film explores the heartrending personal stories of those who have suffered within Parchman’s walls, emphasizing the harrowing truth that the prison was originally a plantation with a dark history of slavery.

Directed by Rahman Ali Bugg, known for his work on “Washington Heights” and “Run’s House,” “Exposing Parchman” delves into the legal team’s efforts advocating for the rights of the Parchman prisoners. Their struggle came to public attention in 2019 when illicitly shot footage of the dire living conditions inside the prison was leaked to social media.

The documentary captures the influence of this leaked footage, which prompted Jay-Z, alongside Yo Gotti and Team ROC (Roc Nation’s social justice arm), to launch a campaign aiding over 200 prisoners. These efforts were bolstered by a group of lawyers filing multiple lawsuits, eventually leading to the U.S. Department of Justice finding the prison in violation of the Constitution’s Eighth and 14th Amendments.

Featuring interviews with Jay-Z, Yo Gotti, Congressman Bennie Thompson, activists Tamika Mallory and Rukia Lumumba, family members of the prisoners, and the legal team, this documentary brings a collective voice to those seeking justice.

Disclaimer: As the author of this article, I wish to note that I have served as one of the Plaintiff’s experts. My extensive knowledge of the subject matter, the affected families, and the legal proceedings contributes to my deep understanding of the issues at hand. I have also participated in one of the prior public service announcements released by Roc Nation regarding this matter. This personal involvement does not influence the factual reporting but rather enhances the depth of my insight into the pressing human rights concerns at Parchman.