Jay-Z has been an entertainer at the forefront of social justice and change in recent memory. He has helped out struggling families financially, lent lawyers to underprivileged people in sticky situations with the law, and been a leader in advocating for social change when needed.
That is why this move comes as quite a shock.
Roc Nation, the entertainment company founded by Jay-Z in 2008, has reached an agreement with the NFL to lead the league’s entertainment endeavors. These endeavors include helping the NFL select artists for several marquee events like the Super Bowl, and playing a “key role in the production and promotion of new music.”
This is a sure-fire way to get a bag. Still, there were reports last year that Jay-Z rejected the 2018 Super Bowl to show “solidarity” to Colin Kaepernick. And then he dissed the people that did perform.
Who could forget Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback that was blackballed by the league because he attempted to call awareness to systematic oppression and social injustice?
In 2017, Jay-Z said that Kaepernick is an, “iconic figure,” and that folks should, “understand when people are kneeling and putting their fist up what they’re doing, it’s not about a flag, it’s about justice, it’s about injustice.”
In 2019, Hov is partnering with the NFL. pic.twitter.com/AnA2MlyX17
— L E F T, PhD (@LeftSentThis) August 13, 2019
Jay-Z has helped out a tremendous amount of people. Plus, he has stood up against injustice time and time again. But above all else, he is about his money and looking to secure the next bag at whatever cost.
He is not https://t.co/jIRVCatNLt
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 14, 2019
Eric Reid, the former teammate of Kaepernick, who was blackballed along with him until he returned to the league last year, had some thoughts on the move from Roc Nation and reminded people to stay woke.
Interesting timing on the partnership with Jay-Z on the heels of Stephen Ross’ fundraiser for Donald Trump and the backlash his other companies are getting because of it. #PayAttentionFolks
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) August 14, 2019
So the NFL is forming an entertainment and "social justice" partnership with Jay-Z and his Roc Nation agency.
Jay Z hasn't spoken with Colin Kaepernick about this and yet says he was an "inspiration."
If this isn't Black capitalism exploiting the movement I don't know what is.
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) August 13, 2019
“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” Jay-Z said. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas — instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was similarly optimistic about the partnership. “Roc Nation is one of the most globally influential and impactful organizations in entertainment,” he said. “The NFL and Roc Nation share a vision of inspiring meaningful social change across our country.”
But does the NFL really have a desire to inspire meaningful social change across the country? No. The NFL is a business, and it looks out for its own best interests. Chalk those other lines up to a good PR move, which Jay-Z is helping sponsor.
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Unfortunately, it seems like Jay-Z is doing the same thing here. And when you look at it from the perspective that Ernest Owens lays out above, it comes across as even worse: exploitative.
Jay-Z is giving credibility to the claim that the NFL is working to help affect social change when most of us know this is not true. This partnership from Jay-Z’s perspective is hypocritical, selfish, and purely capitalistic.
It remains to be seen what Jay-Z will do with Roc Nation’s collab with the NFL, but as of now, it looks like the only interests Jay-Z is furthering are his own. Only time will tell and we can only wonder how Beyonce feels about all of this.