Music mogul JAY-Z continues to do big things away from the recording studio. The hip-hop superstar and his Roc Nation have teamed up with the NFL to roll out the red carpet for Emmy-nominated producer Jesse Collins to executive produce the 2021 Super Bowl halftime show.
JAY-Z’s Black Excellence Push
The hip-hop heavyweight’s RocNation, NFL and Pepsi’s decision to give Collins the high-end position makes him the first-ever Black producer of the champions games’ halftime show. Young Hov has confirmed the huge power move and spoke on what Collins brings with his industry experience.
“Jesse Collins is innovative, creative and one of the only executive producers that speak fluent ‘artist vision.’ He‘s a true artist,” said Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter. “Jesse’s insight and understanding create both extraordinary shows and true cultural moments. After working with Jesse for so many years, I look forward to all there is to come.” Collins, founder and CEO of Jesse Collins Entertainment, was Emmy-nominated last year for outstanding variety special (live) as a producer for the 61st Grammy Awards. His other credits include the CBS special John Lewis: Celebrating A Hero, the BET Awards, the BET Hip-Hop Awards and the Soul Train Awards, among others. (Deadline)
Ice Cube Supports JAY-Z
In August 2019, music icon Ice Cube shared his support for JAY teaming up with the NFL. The partnership followed tensions toward the league for condemning athletes for kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest police brutality.
“I think it’s good. I think he can definitely help the NFL make the right decisions when it comes to whatever they want to do in the community. I don’t understand where the controversy is coming from. You bring something up, you bring something to the light, and the company absorbs that and then makes a change. It’s cool because, actually the case is over and they don’t really have to make this change. They don’t even have to even do this because the grievance with Kaepernick has been settled so by them going the extra mile and doing this with JAY-Z, it shows that there is some sincerity on their part in changing the narrative and doing better things. So, that’s really what it’s all about.” (Jam’n 107.5)
The same week, JAY spoke to media about the perception of only using his new Roc Nation/NFL partnership as an opportunity to address players kneeling to protest police brutality.
Young Hov Gets Hated On
Despite the huge power move, some media outlets questioned JAY’s interest in bringing social justice with the NFL partnership.
Jay-Z has earned the benefit of the doubt, however. I’ve racked my brain trying to find the hidden chess move or way that this can continue the work the businessman has put forth in the last half-decade, but I don’t know how he or anyone thinks that partnering with the NFL can bring tangible, real-life change. His quotes since the announcement have only augmented my concerns: “I have to believe that even if it’s not sincere, we’re going to get things done,” he told the New York Times. He also told the Wall Street Journal that “I can’t control—no one can control—the world that we live in currently, and people’s choice to vote self-interests.” These are both very neutered comments from someone who has seemingly been so invested in challenging established structures and corporate American mainstays. Right now, all evidence points to Jay-Z cashing out, creating a new capitalist opportunity for Jay-Z and Jay-Z alone. (Even if this is a move to become the first black NFL owner, the net benefactor is Jay-Z and the NFL’s pockets.) (Playboy)
The NFL Apologizes
In June 2020, the NFL kept things 100 and openly apologized for not realizing the threat of white supremacy in America and the police brutality pandemic.
“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.” -NFL’s Twitter