Always remember, JAY-Z isn’t a businessman, he’s a business, man. Not long after becoming the world’s first billionaire rapper, he signed up to be the chief brand strategist of cannabis company Caliva. Now the hip-hop mogul has entered into another high-profile partnership — with the NFL.
The New York Times reports that the NFL and Roc Nation have signed a deal that makes JAY-Z the league’s “live music entertainment strategist.” The role will involve JAY-Z and his team consulting on the Super Bowl halftime show as well as other league concert events. That’s heartening news for those of us who have been disappointed in recent lackluster Super Bowl performances from the likes of Maroon 5 and Justin Timberlake.
What’s interesting about the deal, however, is that JAY-Z has been a vocal critic of how the NFL has handled the anthem kneeling protests and Colin Kaepernick’s apparent blackballing. In fact, the buzz in 2017 was that he turned down the halftime gig as an act of solidarity with the former NFL quarterback.
Which is likely why the partnership is far from limited to music programming. Roc Nation will be heavily involved in the league’s key social initiatives. That includes the “Inspire Change” social justice campaign, which makes donations 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-Z told the Times. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
“We don’t want people to come in and necessarily agree with us; we want people to come in and tell us what we can do better,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “I think that’s a core element of our relationship between the two organizations, and with Jay and I personally.”