NFL partnering with Jay-Z, Roc Nation for entertainment and social justice endeavors

Shalise Manza Young
·Yahoo Sports Columnist

Rap royalty, mogul and husband of global supernova Beyoncé, Jay-Z is somewhat surprisingly partnering with the NFL.

Just a year ago, on the “Apes- - -” single, Jay-Z said, “I said no to the Super Bowl/You need me/I don’t need you.”

Turns out, he might be right about the league needing him.

Multi-platform agreement

Jay-Z and his Roc Nation entertainment group are partnering with the. NFL. (AP)
Jay-Z and his Roc Nation entertainment group are partnering with the. NFL. (AP)

The Washington Post’s Mark Maske reports that the NFL and Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency are partnering in a deal that will put the 49-year-old in charge of managing some of the league’s entertainment options and will tie into the NFL’s social justice endeavors.

While the agreement makes Roc Nation a co-producer of the Super Bowl halftime show, it does not specify that Jay-Z will perform, though that could happen.

“He was very quick to say that he does not want this to be about him performing, that it was broader than that,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told Maske. “It quickly went beyond that. Do I hope he’ll perform in the Super Bowl sometime in the next several years? Yes. But I think we’ll all know if that time comes. He’ll know in particular.”

Jay-Z’s last solo album was 2017’s revealing “4:44” but with 13 solo albums and dozens of collaborations in his career, there is no shortage of material for him to perform.

‘I think we have autonomy’

In addition to influencing the Super Bowl halftime show, Jay-Z and Roc Nation will also choose entertainers that perform in NFL content during the season.

Jay-Z, whose given name is Shawn Carter, believes the NFL will give him and Roc Nation the freedom to decide the entertainment it wants to produce for the league, underscoring how impactful this agreement is and could be.

“I think we have autonomy,” Carter said. “I anticipate that there will be a lot of — with any big organization, in this building right here we have internal problems. Anything that’s new is going to go through its growing pains. We put what we want to do on the table. The NFL agreed to it. So we’re gonna proceed with that as if we have a partnership.”

In terms of the activism portion of the agreement, it will be tied to the league’s current “Inspire Change” program announced in January. That initiative, which works with the Players Coalition, focuses on education and economic advancement, police and community relations and criminal justice reform.

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