In a surprising turn of events, Jay-Z has announced that he and Roc Nation will work side by side with the NFL on music and social justice.
In a new role as the NFL’s “live music entertainment strategist,” Jay-Z and those at his entertainment and sports company will consult on entertainment, which will include the Super Bowl halftime show. They will also participate in the league’s activism campaign, Inspire Change. “The N.F.L. has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” Jay-Z shared in an interview. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
It’s a controversial and interesting move for the rap mogul considering that just a few years ago he criticized the NFL for its failure to speak out against social injustice. This came after the league and team owners shut out Colin Kaepernick out during the 2016 season when he began kneeling during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and unfair treatment of African-Americans in this country. Jay-Z plans to talk with Kaepernick personally in the future as well regarding this opportunity.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the New York Times that the league is willing to work with those who will provide constructive criticism of their policies. “We don’t want people to come in and necessarily agree with us; we want people to come in and tell us what we can do better,” Goodell said. “I think that’s a core element of our relationship between the two organizations, and with Jay and I personally.”
Though many online have disagreed with this new role, Jay-Z believes that it will be helpful in creating impactful action in the league. “We’re going through a tough time,” he said. “A lot of people are not agreeing with one another. And we have to just push it along a little bit. There’s no magic pill. No one is going to have the solution themselves. You just have to do your little thing to push it along.”