At this point, if you still believe that Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL is a strategic and calculated maneuver that will help Black America, instead of it being the shrewd business move it’s always been, then you’re a dumbass.
Twenty-two months ago, the greatest rapper of all time and the commissioner of a league that’s still blackballing Colin Kaepernick and assumed that Black players have lower cognitive functioning, sat together to announce a partnership that would “enhance the NFL’s live game experiences and to amplify the league’s social justice efforts.”
Twenty-two months later, Jay-Z, Meek Mill, and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael G. Rubin bought Patriots owner Robert Kraft — a man worth close to $7 billion — a brand-new Bentley for his 80th birthday.
I guess this is what Jay-Z meant when he said, “we’re past kneeling.”
“I think we have moved past kneeling. I think it is time to go into an actionable item … I’m not minimizing [Kaepernick’s] part of it. That has to happen. That is a necessary part of the process. But now that we all know what’s going on, what are we going to do? How are we going to stop it?”
When Jay-Z uttered those words, he had no idea that the entire sports world was going to make him look stupid due to the murders and shootings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Jacob Blake, as Kaepernick’s gesture that was intended to bring awareness to racism and police brutality was needed more than it ever was.
But, for all the dumb things Jay-Z has said and done in the name of racial and social justice since he partnered with the league, Kraft’s birthday gift may be the most egregious decision of them all, given who was involved. In 2019, REFORM Alliance was created, an organization focused on “advancing criminal justice reform and eliminating outdated laws that perpetuate injustice, starting with probation and parole.” Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Kraft, Rubin, and Van Jones are a few of the co-chairs and founding partners — which is problematic, as f*ck. Let me explain.
- Jay-Z: Having the guy who still hasn’t apologized for saying that we have moved past a gesture that’s being done across the globe as a stand against racism and police brutality can’t also be for “eliminating outdated laws that perpetuate injustice.” Which one is it, Hov?
- Robert Kraft: Last month, ESPN released an in-depth report on how Trump may have allegedly intervened to get the government to stop looking into the 2007 Spygate investigation of the Patriots as a favor to Kraft. And in September, Kraft had misdemeanor prostitution charges against him dropped from a prostitution sting in Florida, which also had some potential ties to Trump.
- Van Jones: Jones is a Black political commentator for CNN that Black people don’t actually like. There’s a reason why Sunny Hostin called him out on national TV. Jones also secretly helped craft Trump’s terrible police reform, and then raved about it on TV.
- Meek Mill: Last winter, Meek was the butt of a ton of jokes on social media as he willingly posted a video in which he showed himself giving a group of kids $20 as they were selling water in Atlanta. A rapper who constantly brags about his money was caught looking cheap and broke. Meek — a man with his own history of legal issues — then went on to profile the kids by saying, “I know what’s going on. I ain’t giving no young bouls no money to buy no weed.”
These are the people that are trying to change “the system.” They’re the ones who simple people say are “playing chess, not checkers,” when those same people can’t tell a pawn from a bishop.
“I want to be held accountable for what I am doing. It keeps me sharp. Lets me know I can’t play around. I have to do what I say I am going to do,” Jay-Z said on that fateful day in 2019, sitting next to Roger Goodell. A lot has changed since then. But, you know what hasn’t? Jay-Z’s ineffectiveness.