I wasn’t planning on blogging during my Bali vacation (one of the most beautiful places I have visited, by the way; y’all should go!), but what went down between Jay-Z and the NFL got my attention.
So did the reaction.
People such as ESPN’s Bomani Jones and The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill penned thought-provoking pieces on the deal. I discussed what Bomani had to say with my fraternity brothers via GroupMe, and the discussion stemming from THAT was interesting.
One of my bruhs said that this was Jay-Z’s way of “moving past the kneeling”. Others said that the kneeling served its purpose and that it was time for folks to work with the powers that be to save black lives.
After I said that while I understood where the bruhs were coming from, but I just wished Jay-Z would have somehow included the cat who started the awareness on the field, these were the immediate responses:
“To me it’s a smart move. Inside track to change the culture. People need a reason to make the next biggest article or tweet.”
“Keeping it real Kaep is a symbol not a leader. He didn’t bring anyone to the table. Barely speaks. And took a check from the nfl in exchange for his silence. The movement wasn’t about him anyway. It was about black people getting murdered by law enforcement.”
(The last one came strong, but that is how that particular bruh gets down: he pulls NO punches and has no chill about it whatsoever.)
As I said earlier, I understood where my fraternity brothers were coming from. Kaepernick set the table, now it’s up to the rest of us with the power to help bring about change.
Folks such as the Players Coalition led by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin have been doing just that. Jay-Z may have helped push that boulder down that hill.
And yes, I know Kaepernick didn’t help his cause by saying little during his kneeling (and even NOW). Suing your employer (and obtaining a fat, undisclosed settlement) would make it hard to get a job back with said employer.
I just think that Jay-Z should have somehow collaborated with Kaepernick and his team on this. It would have been a much more powerful gesture.
And the cynical side of me thinks this was a huge money/pub grab by Jay-Z. After all, in order to be the billionaire that Jay-Z is, you’d have to be shrewd and calculating.
As part of the deal, Jay-Z is now allowed to have a HUGE hand in future Super Bowl halftime shows. In other words, CA-CHING!!!
I hope I’m wrong about this being more about the Benjamins with Jay-Z than actually helping push the social justice envelope. Only time will tell, though…