Rap and sports have always been intertwined, but JAY-Z is taking that connection to another level.
According to the New York Times, the NFL has inked a partnership with the Jigga Man and Roc Nation, which will become the league’s new “live music entertainment strategist.” With this position, JAY-Z and his team will be asked to consult on the Super Bowl halftime show and bring in high-level talent to perform at league events. Roc Nation will also be involved in the league’s key social initiatives.
The national anthem protests and subsequent collusion case have left the NFL with a black eye in the court of public opinion. Boycotts from people on both sides of the Colin Kaepernick debate resulted in a drop in TV ratings, and some artists refused to associate themselves with the NFL in solidarity with Kaepernick. It’s also worth noting that JAY-Z has been one of Kapernick’s most vocal supporters in recent years. In his new role, JAY-Z will be heavily involved in the league’s social justice campaign, the “Inspire Change” initiative. According to the Times, it “donates money 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,” Hov said in an interview with the Times. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, explained that the partnership with JAY-Z will serve as a checks-and-balance system for the league.
“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,” Goodell said in an interview. “I think that’s a core element of our relationship between the two organizations, and with Jay and I personally.”
Roc Nation and the NFL will formally announce the deal on Wednesday. The financial terms were not disclosed. Meanwhile, ESPN reports that the deal is a “long-term partnership,” and will introduce new music into various NFL productions.
“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” JAY-Z said. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas—instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”
According to ESPN, some of the upcoming initiatives that are expected to be implemented as a result of this partnership may include a Pro Bowl community concert, original music, artists podcasts, and a live visual album.