When Colin Kaepernick sat out the National Anthem in silence to protest police brutality, he knew that he ran the risk of others speaking for him. Unfortunately, many of the voices that rose to fill the void he purposely left have been more interested in co-opting his message or in magnifying the man over the mission. Fortunately for Colin, one of those voices belongs to one of the biggest rappers in hip-hop.
As Jay-Z took to the Saturday Night Live stage to perform “Bam” and “4:44,” he wore a customized jersey emblazoned with the number 7 and “Colin K,” a clear reference to the deposed NFL star, but besides standing in solidarity with the former Super Bowl quarterback, Jay’s wardrobe decision lent all the weight of his cultural authority to Kaepernick’s protest.
It was no empty gesture to show so-called “unity” — we have had more than enough of those. Instead, the jersey signaled that Kap had a powerful ally — not just on the field, or safely sequestered in a recording booth, but in the halls of power, where Jay’s corporate connections come into play, despite the lyrics from “The Story Of OJ,” his song that almost directly correlates to Kaepernick’s present standing in the public’s perception.
“Light n*gga, dark n*gga, faux n*gga, real n*gga / Rich n*gga, poor n*gga, house n*gga, field n*gga / Still n*gga…”