Jay-Z partners with NFL as its live music entertainment strategist
The NFL and Jay-Z have entered into a partnership that will place the high-profile hip-hop artist in a position of considerable influence: live music entertainment strategist. As a part of his new role, Jay-Z will consult with the NFL on the selection of Super Bowl halftime talent. He will also help the NFL orchestrate other music driven events affiliated with the league, while assisting with the NFL’s activism campaign, Inspire Change.
The development represents a shift in the mogul’s contentious relationship with the NFL. Jay-Z flipped the NFL a lyrical middle finger in his 2018 single, “APESHIT,” rapping, “I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you.” The diss came after Jay-Z declined the league’s offer to perform at the 2018 Super Bowl in a demonstration of his solidarity with prior San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. Rihanna notably rescinded the Super Bowl’s 2018 bid for the same reason.
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the National Anthem in protest against police brutality in 2016. Jay-Z had sought to bring attention to the issue of police brutality in the nation for many years preluding Kaepernick’s on-field opposition and notably dedicated a song to Kaepernick during his 2017 performance at The Meadows Music and Arts Festival. The rapper was also said to have been vocal in his attempts to dissuade fellow hip-hop entity, Travis Scott, from performing at the Super Bowl after the league approached Scott with an offer to appear at the 2018 iteration alongside Maroon 5.
“The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” Jay-Z said in an interview at Roc Nation in Manhattan. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, [so] that we can do some good.”
“We don’t want people to come in and necessarily agree with us,” Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, said in an interview on Aug. 12. “I think that’s a core element of our relationship between the two organizations, and with Jay and I personally.”