Jay-Z is attempting to “inspire change” with his new partnership with the NFL, and his first move is to put on a free concert and sell merch.
The NFL and Roc Nation have announced that, in support of the social justice platform Inspire Change, Meghan Trainor, Meek Mill, Rapsody, and DJ Pharris will be performing a free concert at Grant Park in Chicago on Thursday, Sept. 5. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to social justice organizations, and parts of Trainor and Mill’s performances will be livestreamed on NBC and NFL Network’s pregame coverage from 7:30 to 8:10 p.m. ET, before the first game of the season kicks off between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
Trainor, Mill, and Rapsody have been named the first Inspire Change Advocates in advance of the concert. It was also announced that Inspire Change will sell apparel later this year.
The announcements are already garnering strong reactions on social media:
NFL and Jay Z is like Kaepernick kneeled so Meghan Trainor could soar.— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) August 30, 2019
Those of us who criticized the Jay-Z and NFL partnership predicted this. Honestly, this is disgraceful.— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) August 30, 2019
And if you think profits won’t go in the pockets of Jay Z and the NFL you’re a fool.
How do you with a straight face ban Kaepernick then make money off of him? https://t.co/XBHBIC7TsM
The fact that Jay Z really said we're past kneeling and is promoting shirts for Meghan Trainor... pic.twitter.com/e2OX9AuvC5— 𝖀𝖓𝖌𝖗𝖆𝖕𝖊𝖋𝖗𝖚𝖎𝖙 𝕳𝖊𝖆𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖓 (@upthetwerx) August 30, 2019
Jay Z throwing out Meghan Trainor like the big joker in a spades game hilarious too. I ain't never in my life heard nobody say "AYE TURN THAT MEGHAN TRAINOR UP BRUHHH"— Ski Mask Shawty (@haveyouheardofg) August 30, 2019
And now Jay Z selling social justice t-shirts? I'm exhausted.— jeremy bearimy (@crissles) August 30, 2019
Its wild that Jayz said it's time for action and then one of the actions is to sell apparel to fund programs when Kaepernick was already funding programs & orgs out of his own pockets— Ryan (@_theghettomonk) August 30, 2019
Earlier this month, it was announced that the NFL signed a deal with Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports company, setting the company as the league’s “live music entertainment strategist” to consult on entertainment, including the Super Bowl halftime show, and contribute to the NFL’s activism initiative, Inspire Change. The news was met with some confusion, as many wondered why Jay-Z, who has very publicly supported Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who kicked off a nationwide controversy by sitting or kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial discrimination, would partner with the very same league embroiled in controversy over its handling of Kaepernick and other players’ protests.
“The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” Jay-Z said in an interview with The New York Times. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
“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,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the Times. “I think that’s a core element of our relationship between the two organizations, and with Jay and I personally.”