On one side are those who felt Hov stabbed Colin Kaepernick in the back by partnering with the League without having Kap involved. On the other side are those who felt that Jay-Z took the baton from Kap and got a seat at the table in order to affect real change. It’s been a hotly debated topic over the last two weeks, one whose emotional roots will cause these sides to be divided for the foreseeable future.
Today those tensions flared back up when the NFL and Roc Nation unveiled the first initiatives in their partnership: Inspire Change and Songs of the Season.
Based upon the release, those who called Jay-Z a “sell out”, and others who called him a capitalist, both appear to just cause.
Per the release:
Inspire Change apparel, a new social enterprise model, will fund and support Inspire Change programs across the country.
Proceeds from the venture will support organizations committed to the key priorities of Inspire Change: education and economic empowerment, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform. The Inspire Change apparel line, designed by artists, will be available later in the 2019 season.
The second part of their initiative, Songs of the Season, will feature music from “superstars and emerging artists from all genres.” The release states that all of the proceeds from these songs will go toward Inspire Change.
To start the Songs of the Season off, Meek Mill, Meghan Trainor and Rhapsody will perform on Thursday night in Chicago where the 2019-2020 NFL season begins.
Some have come out and called this a hypocritical partnership, one that utilizes capitalism as a method of promoting progress. While that might be true, in all fairness, it’s not the first time that this type of strategy has been used in social justice causes.
How many times have you bought a T-shit or hat in order to support a cause?
This summer, Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe teamed with UNINTERRUPTED to create the limited edition “Love is UNINTERRUPTED” hoodie in honor of Pride this past June. 200 of these hoodies were produced and given exclusively to athletes to show their commitment to protecting and supporting LGBTQ youth.
While those weren’t available at retail, they were created to generate awareness of a cause. Inspire Change has a similar goal, but will be implementing a retail component which allocates proceeds (no indication of a percentage was given) to help a variety of organizations and efforts.
Similar goals, different methods.
The topic of social justice is a lightning rod for emotions, so the partnership between Jay-Z and the NFL will never be devoid of these raw feelings on either side.
The real question is whether the ends will justify the means. The answer to that question won’t be realized any time soon, so expect the arguments to persist.