Jay-Z, the fifth African-American billionaire in America, announced his partnership with Roc Nation Entertainment Company and the NFL on August 14.
In an article with NPR music Jay-Z stated, “I think we’re past kneeling. I think it’s time for action.” three years after Colin Kaepernick’s first controversial kneel that Jay-Z stood behind.
Colin Kaepernick’s kneel was at the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement which was sending a message across America to bring attention to the injustice and police brutality against African American’s. Kaepernick who was playing for the San Francisco 49ers at the time of his protest took a knee during the National anthem to show his support to the movement. His protest was intended to bring attention to the message they were protesting in a peaceful way that grabbed American’s attention. This one man’s protest started an uproar not only in the NFL but in American.
After Jay-Z’s Saturday Night Live Performance he sent a message to the league by stating “You need me, I don’t need you” in his song Apes. Jay-Z has been a big advocate against black performers working with the NFL during Super Bowl performances. He also stood behind Colin Kaepernick as he began to receive backlash for his protest. Kaepernick was never redrafted after becoming a free agent and is currently still unemployed through the NFL.
Jay-Z sat down with the NFL commissioner Roger Goddell who disagrees with Kaepernick’s protest to kneel during the National Anthem, but was still able to close a deal with the billionaire Jay-Z to become a partner with the NFL. The deal is for Jay-Z to help with the halftime shows.
This new deal has been quite controversial and raises the question as to what his intentions are and what will be changed inside the NFL. A sports journalist Jemele Hill headlined her article after the news of the partnership “Jay-Z helps the NFL Banish Colin Kaepernick.” The media is now wondering why Jay-Z who was once one of Kaepernick’s biggest supporters, is now working with the NFL. He who also was a big advocate against working with the NFL, would now sign a partnership to work alongside them and make their halftime shows better.
Will this partnership bring a light to the police brutality, social, and racial injustice in America? Kaepernick has yet to directly comment on the new partnership, but took to twitter and wrote “I continue to work and stand with the people in our fight for liberation, despite those who are trying to erase the movement!”
Jay-Z has begun to receive backlash for the partnership from other well known supporters of Kaepernick. Carolina Panther Eric Reid, who also was one of the first players to join Kaepernick’s protest stated “Jay-Z is asinine for saying the time for kneeling has passed.”
Miami Dolphins player Kenny Stills stated in an article, “Jay-Z choosing to speak for the people, as if he had spoken to the people,” this shows that not everyone who feels that they are affected by this movement and social injustice is happy with the way Jay-Z is handling his position as a voice for the people.
Despite the recent backlash with his decision to partner with the NFL, Jay-Z has also gained support from fellow artists. Rapper J. Cole, Freddie Gibbs, Cardi B, and Vic Mensa are among some of the well known names that also have took to social media to show their support with the rapper on his decision to close a deal with the NFL in hopes to bring attention to the social injustice in America. In recent interviews he has stated the question to the interviewer’s and his non supporters “Do you know what the issue is?”