Jay-Z wasted no time putting his controversial NFL partnership to work, launching a new apparel line to fund social change and recruiting Meek Mill in an entertainment program.
The NFL and Roc Nation announced the Inspire Change apparel line and Songs of the Season, the music part of the deal — all promoting the NFL — as part of their new partnership. Inspire Change is “a new social enterprise model”, the partners said in a press release. The apparel will fund Inspire Change programs across the U.S. with a focus on “economic empowerment, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform,” the NFL said.
Mill, Meghan Trainor and Rapsody are scheduled to perform at the NFL kickoff event in Chicago on Sept. 5, TMZ reported.
Jay-Z took heat after holding an Aug. 14 press conference with Roger Goodell to announce their partnership. Many people felt like Jay was turning his back on Colin Kaepernick and the protest.
Kaepernick started a movement when he took a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism. Now he’s being blackballed by the NFL.
The latest announcement of the Inspire Change apparel launch set Twitter off again with fresh accusations that Jay-Z is monetizing Kaepernick’s protest.
“So we won’t let you take a knee but you can buy the hell out of these shirts,” @drfivecrows tweeted.
After successfully launching his Rocawear and Paper Planes, Jay-Z knows there’s big money in clothing and caps.
This is “a deeply cynical branding exercise from the most reactionary sports league in the U.S.,” Vice reported in an article titled, “The NFL Thinks We’re All Stupid”.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 67: Jamarlin Martin
Jamarlin goes solo to discuss the NFL’s entertainment and “social justice” deal with Jay-Z. We look back at the Barclays gentrification issue in the documentary “A Genius Leaves The Hood: The Unauthorized Story of Jay-Z.”
“No one should take this as a sign that the NFL suddenly cares about ‘education and economic empowerment, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform,’ which are the stated key priorities of Inspire Change.”
If the NFL wants to change, it would have to change “the internal practices of the league—working to hire more black coaches, for instance—not launching yet another star-studded branding exercise to pander to the fans who trust Kaepernick far more than NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But cynical pandering, at this point, is all the NFL knows how to do,” according to Vice.
At the Aug. 14 news conference announcing the partnership, Jay-Z said, “We forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social justice. In that case, this is a success. This is the next thing, because there are two parts to the protest — you go out and protest, and the company and individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’”