August 19, 2019
The rap star thinks racial justice will come from corporations and billionaires. That’s self-serving and wrong
Jay-Z has crossed the picket line with his NFL deal | Derecka Purnell
As a card-carrying member of the BeyHive, I attended two On The Run II concerts last summer. At the London concert, Jay-Z and Beyoncé surprised the world with their single APESHIT. There Jay-Z raps, “I said no to the Superbowl. You need me don’t need you. Every night we in the endzone. Tell the NFL we in stadiums, too.” Cameras zoomed in on black men in hoodies kneeling on the floor in protest style. These tributes were reminiscent of the black boy dancing in front of militarized police officers in Beyoncé’s Formation video two years before. She later performed the single at Super Bowl half-time, accompanied by black women wearing black power outfits with berets. The anti-capitalist aims of the Black Panther party loomed in contrast to the lyrics: “I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making” and “Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.” Now, as part of the new, multi-year deal with the National Football League, Jay-Z will produce the Super Bowl halftime show, to the dismay of many activists.
The NFL is blackballing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback and Super Bowl champion contender Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against police violence. Kaepernick inspired others to kneel, protest, boycott and organize. He has given more than a million dollars to social justice organizations. Thousands have boycotted watching or attending football games and several celebrities declined to perform at the big half-time show. Given this, Jay-Z’s steps crossed a picket line. It stings. The announcement came days after the fifth anniversary of Michael Brown’s murder by a police officer.
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