This year, not so much.
But I am sitting out the festival this year.
I have “99 Problems” with Jay-Z because of that sweetheart deal between his company, Roc Nation, and the NFL. It just doesn’t sit well with me. It doesn’t sit well with a whole lot of folks.
I get mad every time I think of how the hip-hop mogul sold out former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines after repeatedly taking a knee during the national anthem at football games to protest police brutality.
Jay-Z will, among other things, manage the league’s entertainment ventures and coproduce the Super Bowl halftime show, which last year struggled to find entertainers willing to perform because of the NFL’s treatment of Kaepernick and the subsequent fan boycott.
So much for Kaepernick and why he took a knee. So much for Jay-Z being one of the former quarterback’s biggest supporters.
So much also for football players and fans who took a knee or boycotted to protest police brutality against black men and women and call for social justice.
“Jay-Z claimed to be a supporter of Colin, wore his jersey, told people not to perform at the Super Bowl because of [what] the NFL did to Colin,” Eric Reid of the Carolina Panthers complained recently. “Now he’s going to be a part-owner [of a football team]. That’s kind of despicable.”
Jay-Z may not remember, but I’ll never forget how the NFL didn’t push back against President Donald Trump’s crusade against protesting athletes. Trump even went as far as to say, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b— off the field right now, out, he’s fired.’”
Jay-Z has gone from turning down offers to perform at the Super Bowl to being like, “It’s all over, y’all. Don’t kneel. End your boycott.”
I want to know how communities of color benefit from whatever deal he has with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Are we supposed to sit by and put our hope and faith in Jay-Z?
Meanwhile, Kaepernick’s NFL career is likely over. (The NFL this year settled a lawsuit brought by him for an undisclosed sum.)
“Everyone’s saying, ‘How are you going forward if Kaep doesn’t have a job?' This was not about him having a job. That became part of it,” Jay-Z said recently. “We know what it is — now, how do we address that injustice? What’s the way forward?”
One way forward would be to make Kaepernick the face of the NFL’s Inspire Change social justice initiative, which Jay-Z now heads. Unlike the hip-hop billionaire, Kaepernick put principle ahead of profit.
Jay-Z has always been about money, from his days as a drug dealer in New York City to writing and performing profane but commercially popular lyrics. Now this.
I may not admire all he did to make it, but I admire his hustle. After the mayor’s office declared that Made in America needed to move from the Parkway, Jay-Z pushed back and quickly got the matter dropped.