Music and sports have an interesting relationship. Both are different from one another, yet always intertwined. That can be said especially in regards to the relationship between rap and sports. Things are in the process of being taken to new heights with the help of the legendary, now billionaire rapper, Jay-Z!
The NFL has inked a new partnership with Hov and Roc Nation, which will become the league’s new “live music entertainment strategist.” In this new position, JAY-Z and his team will be asked to consult on the Super Bowl halftime show and bring in high-level talent to perform at league events. Roc Nation will also be involved in the league’s key social initiatives.
The national anthem protests and subsequent collusion case has left the NFL with a black eye in the court of public opinion. Boycotts from people on both sides of the Colin Kaepernick debate resulted in a drop in TV ratings, and some artists even refused to associate themselves with the NFL in solidarity with Kaepernick. It’s also worth noting that JAY-Z has been one of Kapernick’s most vocal supporters.
In his new role, JAY-Z will be heavily involved in the league’s social justice campaign, the “Inspire Change” initiative. The initiative “donates money to groups fighting for criminal justice reform, opportunities in economically challenged areas and better relations between the police and local communities.”
“The NFL has a great platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” Jay said in an interview with the Times. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, explained that the partnership with JAY-Z will serve as a checks-and-balance system for the league.
Roc Nation and the NFL will formally announce the deal today. The financial terms were not disclosed. But its reported that the deal is a “long-term partnership,” and will introduce new music into various NFL productions.
“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” JAY-Z said. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas—instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”
When he was asked if he would be able to work for an organization made up of team owners that he might disagree with on social justice issues, Jigga was candid. He said that working alongside people with regressive views is unavoidable in high-level business deals.
Jay-Z nodded to Kaepernick as the originator of the NFL’s current social justice campaign.
“He absolutely brought this conversation alive,” Jay-Z said. “We like to think that the way we build the Inspire Change platform, that if anything close to that would happen in the future, then Kaepernick would have a platform where he can express himself and maybe it doesn’t have to take place on the field.”
According to ESPN, some of the upcoming initiatives that are expected to be implemented as a result of this partnership may include a Pro Bowl community concert, original music, artists podcasts, and a live visual album.