Madison Meets Marcy
The NFL announced a partnership with ROC Nation to improve the live entertainment as well as to fight against social injustice through the NFL's Inspire Change initiative. Twitterverse broke out in a range of emotions calling the Hip Hop Mogul a sellout and a hypocrite...but as the kid from Marcy projects will tell you, between Beauty and Beast he walks the line.
You need me I don’t need you….why should this partnership change that statement? If anything it only makes it more true. The NFL came to jay z…this would make it the second time the NFL came to him. HOV made it perfectly clear to Goodell in their first meeting…" if this is about me performing in the super bowl then we can just end this conversation now, it has to be a bigger platform then that.” Before we throw the word sellout out there loosely…lets first acknowledge this critical point. So let's say Jay Z agreed to solely produce the shows and have this be solely a financial gain, then sure we could’ve coined him a sellout. But he did the very opposite of what a sellout is, he demanded of the NFL to do more. Jay is officially one of the most influential black men in this country, and that also undoubtedly makes him one of the most influential people in this country. He stood by his principals and by his lyrics as well….the NFL knows the value Jay Z would bring to their entertainment brand…and HOV is always aware of his worth, no matter where he is on God’s green earth.
So the conversation got started…and it went on for months…and both the Commissioner and Jay Z talked about how “frank” their conversations have been. Roc Nation in one of the meetings gave the NFL a list of organizations they suggested to be added to the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative. As Jay pointed out in the press conference, Roc Nation initially thought they would take one or two of the suggestions, the NFL agreed to the whole list…and Jay Z commended the NFL for their openness and willingness to share their platform to serve others. Jay Z further elaborated on how wide the NFL platform stretches by citing the huge success of the J.J. Watt Hurricane Harvey relief fund which raised $37 Million in just a few weeks. The NFL's platform was a big reason why ROC Nation was excited, but perhaps the most important person to bringing this partnership full circle is Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Robert Kraft and Jay Z formed a relationship when both men were involved in helping hip hop artist Meek Mill with his unjust jail sentencing. Since then Kraft partnered with Roc Nation to created REFORM. REFORM Alliance aims to bring real change to Social Injustice and includes members like Kraft, Jay Z, Meek Mill, and co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers Michael Rubin. This same team will be the driving force behind the role Roc Nation plays in the NFL’s Inspire Change Initiative, and Robert Kraft, fittingly, will be the bridge that ensures the relationship thrives. Why the NFL? There is no bigger sport or platform in our country than the NFL. In 2018, 7 of the top 10 watched programs were NFL games and the Super Bowl is consistently the most-watched television program every year. While the reaction and results from the J.J. Watt Hurricane Harvey relief fund was a reason why ROC nation was excited about the partnership, more importantly for the driver of the mission was he wanted to go to the source. The NFL has been at the center of racial tensions in our country ever since Kaepernick started kneeling. For Jay Z, this partnership was the next step. During the press conference, Jay Z was asked if he would kneel or stand during the anthem, and that's when he answered with the headline "I think we moved past kneeling"...and he was right. Jay Z also went on to say he doesn't want people to stop kneeling because kneeling is a form of protest. Jay pointed out the point of kneeling was to raise awareness, and Kaepernick to his credit got the attention of the entire nation. So now, as Jay Z coined it, it's about "actionable items" and ROC Nation saw the NFL's inspire change as the vehicle to take what Kaepernick started to the next level. HOV also said he talked to Kaepernick about this partnership but would not reveal what took place during the conversation however it is clear if Colin wanted to be a part of this then he could if he so chose to. Regardless, Colin is a part of this, even if he doesn't physically get on board....it is a part of his legacy. At the end of the day, this partnership has a chance to be highly successful and the impact could stretch for generations to come. Jay Z stated during the press conference Inspire Change will plug into any avenue and they are not limited to the foundations and organizations they have already partnered with. Jobs, better education, social reform, breaking barriers and building understanding between law enforcement and the communities they patrol and protect....all these things could come about from this partnership. In my opinion, Jay Z is the right person to be in the room to bridge this, Jay Z and Robert Kraft.