Jay-Z’s controversial partnership with the NFL continues to stir up emotion, the Brooklyn emcee announced that the NFL would divest $100M into criminal justice reform over the next 10 years in a recent interview with The New York Times.
But one of the rap mogul’s biggest supporters, his mother-in-law, Tina Lawson, posted an Instagram message on Tuesday asking why more folks weren’t congratulating the move.
The answer to Mama Tina’s question is filled with many complexities.
The $100 million investment is another arm of “Inspire Change,” the N.F.L.’s new initiative concerning “education and economic advancement, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform,” along with Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation, which now has a stake in music performances during live events, like the Super Bowl.
Last year, Jay-Z came under righteous fire after he announced his intentions to work with the NFL in a creative capacity, citing that Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in protest of inequality and police brutality against Black people in America, had reached a stagnant point.
“I think we’ve moved past kneeling. I think it’s time to go into actionable items,” he said in August 2019.
“No, I don’t want people to stop protesting at all. Kneeling — I know we’re stuck on it because it’s a real thing — but kneeling is a form of protest. I support protest across the board. We need to bring light to the issue. I think everyone knows what the issue is — we’re done with that,” he continued.
The commentary definitely incensed a lot of people, including Kaepernick himself, along with his girlfriend Nessa Diab. Then the bizarre workout agreement between Kaepernick and the NFL seemed to turn the relationship sour again as it was revealed that Jay-Z might have had a hand in orchestrating a practice session for Kaepernick to be seen after spending three years without being signed to a professional team.
While it’s true that money is a crucial and important factor into evoking change, it’s been somewhat unclear if Jay-Z’s decision to participate with the NFL is a purely capitalistic move. We know Jay cares about Black people, but it’s hard to sideline some of his words and actions, especially when it’s been persistent that the NFL continues to silence players by deterring them from partaking in protests on the field by instituting fines and fees if they chose to go against the policy.
So in short, its not that we aren’t excited to see the NFL take an active part in combating inequality against Black and brown bodies, it’s just that the NFL still continues to be an active participant of state sanctioned violence by asking it’s members to remain silent on this important issue.