Jay-Z Turns 51: He Beat The Streets, The Odds & The Limitations Placed on Black Men In Society

The incomparable Jay-Z turns 51 years old today. Yeah, that just makes all of us Generation Xer’s mad old. From the crack-dealing, four-wheeling, concrete projects of Marcy, Brooklyn, to the boardrooms of billion-dollar corporations with Rocafella Records to private pow wows with the likes of Warren Buffet. Shawn Carter is firmly entrenched in iconism as the family man mogul, married to another icon in Beyonce.

In the past two years, Jay-Z continued to not only break ground as an entrepreneur but also dedicate a large amount of his time and money to philanthropic efforts and social activism.

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation To Provide Legal Aid To Black Phoenix Family

Jay-Z’s entertainment and social justice deal that he struck with Roger Goodell and the NFL created a civil war in Black America. On one side were those Colin Kaepernick supporters who felt that Jay-Z turned his back on Kap by doing business with the same league that is blackballing him.

On the other hand, Jay-Z loyalists defend his actions as ingenious and a way to get a seat at the table and bring diversity to a predominantly white NFL power base.

Black Media Divided Over Jay-Z’s Kaepernick-less NFL Partnership

He’s also used his power to increase voter participation and aid in COVID-19 relief.


Dr. Michael Eric Dyson’s 2019 book establishes Jay-Z as ‘Big Bro’, the most influential cultural icon in the world today. The lauded author, Georgetown professor, and mouthpiece for the Black struggle in America provides insight into the rise of a walking example of the American Dream and how he mentors other Black icons, including LeBron James.

‘JAY-Z: Made In America’ Portrays The Brooklyn Icon As LeBron’s Yoda

Jay-Z’s partnership with Caliva, a California-based cannabis company, is not just a way to get a leg up on the burgeoning industry.

As the Chief Brand Strategist of the company, Jay helps with creative decision-making, outreach efforts, and brand strategy. However, a major component of the entrepreneur’s involvement centers on social justice issues pertaining to the legalization of cannabis.

He works to improve legal representation, as well as help participation, for previously incarcerated people who are being barred from entering this booming and now-legal industry.

Jay-Z Partners With Caliva To Enter The Cannabis Industry

Rapper 21 Savage, whose real name is Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph, was arrested by ICE agents Super Bowl Sunday. ICE claims that the rapper is a citizen of the United Kingdom and had overstayed his visa. ICE also added that 21 Savage’s arrest stemmed from a “targeted operation.”

Jay-Z and Roc Nation hired a legal team led by Alex Spiro, to assist in the ordeal.

Jay-Z wrote a Facebook stating, “the arrest and detention of 21 Savage is an absolute travesty, his U visa petition has been pending for 4 years. In addition to being a successful recording artist, 21 deserves to be reunited with his children immediately.”

Jay-Z And Roc Nation Hires Legal Help For 21 Savage

21 was released on bond from a detention center in Georgia on February 2019, more than a week after he was detained by immigration authorities.


In honor of him reaching 50 years of age last year, the rapper released his entire discography on Spotify, much of which he pulled from the streaming site back in April of 2017.

The release includes his most recent album 4:44, as well as Watch the Throne, The Black Album, American Gangster and more. Jay-Z originally took most of his catalog off the site in 2017 ahead of the release of 4:44, presumably to encourage fans to sign up for his service TIDAL. 

In 2020, amidst record unemployment, a global pandemic and music industry with artists that couldn’t do any live performances, Jay-Z continues to expand his empire, indulge in philanthropic activities and set new standards for rappers turned moguls.