The internet has been buzzing about Jay-Z’s deal with the NFL. The rapper’s entertainment company, Roc Nation, recently entered into a partnership with the NFL as the league’s entertainment strategist. Some call him a hypocrite for involving himself with the NFL after publicly supporting Colin Kaepernick. Others believe having someone on the inside will actually help to promote change in the organization. Jay-Z explained his reasoning at a press conference, saying that it doesn’t matter what people say about his deal because he’s been working to make actual change.
New York City’s hip-hop radio station Hot 97 was able to get a hold of previously unreleased clips in which Jay-Z goes into detail about the backlash he’s faced. He said it’s okay to be upset with him, but he wants people to know he works every day to fight social injustice, which is more than many can say:
“It’s a natural emotion to be upset, but where do we go now? Where are we going to take it, what do we do, how are we going to fix it? And what is everyone doing? Everyone can speak like those Twitter people, everyone can talk. Ask them, what have they done? There’s 365 days last year. I can tell you exactly what I’ve done last year. Let me tell you everything I’ve done to change. I can tell you the amount of people who I saved from going to jail, I can tell you I got this person out of jail, I can tell you this, this, this, this and that. I fed this many people, I can tell you exactly what I’ve done with my 365 days. What has everyone done? It’s a challenge. We can have the conversation, and again, I’m not saying it’s not needed. It’s needed because we need to know what’s happening. We need to identify the problems in order to for us to address it. But after we address it, what are we doing?”
Jay-Z went on to say he believes the conversation about Kaepernick has pivoted away from its origin. He thinks Kaepernick’s original goal was to bring awareness to injustices faced by the black community, and he was successful:
“I think we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice. In that case, this was a success. There’s two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you, what do we do next?’ For me it was action. What are we going to do with it? Like everyone heard, and we hear what you’re saying, and every body knows I agree with what you’re saying. So, what are we going to do?”
Jay-Z also said he’s used to being in the hot seat. He’s made many moves in his career that people don’t immediately understand, but that doesn’t mean they won’t work out in five years. He used his streaming platform, Tidal, as an example of how people’s criticism turns out to be unsubstantiated down the line:
“I’ve been in this position many times, where people be fighting and saying what I’m about to do and told me what I’m thinking, or how it’s going to turn out. Take Tidal as an example. That that five years ago, and now you look at it today and people have a different outlook on it. But at the time, it was like, ‘What’s going on?’ So I’ve been in this position many times. I just show up and do the work. I’m not really interested in how things look on the outside. If protesting on the field is the most effective way, then protest on the field. But if you have a vehicle that you can inspire change or you can speak to the masses, then you educate at the same time as well. Tell people what’s going on so people aren’t controlling your narrative.”
Watch the clips from Jay-Z’s press conference below.