Jay-Z and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gathered with reporters for a press conference at Roc Nation’s offices on Wednesday to discuss their new partnership, which was revealed yesterday after news leaked. During the conference they revealed that they both have had conversations with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Coiin Kaepernick but declined to reveal any details about those conversations, or what his stance on the partnership may be.
Asked whether they plan to involve Kaepernick, Jay said, “You’ll have to ask him, I’m not his boss. That’s for him to say.”
Asked whether he views this partnership as a form of protest and an opportunity to change from within, he said, “Absolutely.” But pressed for details later, he said, “America in general looked at rap as a fad, and it’s the number one genre in the world, you just can’t hide the statistics now because of streaming. But in 1998 rap was the no. 1 genre going forward to today, so I would love for these platforms to be more inclusive of our music.”
A reporter also asked Jay whether he’d attempted to talk Travis Scott out of performing with Maroon 5 this year, as Variety exclusively reported. He said that he did, but said the issue was not about Kaepernick, but rather that he “didn’t see [Scott] playing second fiddle” to anyone after the “monster year” that he’d had with his successful album and singles.
The deal with Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports company, calls for the firm to be the N.F.L.’s “live music entertainment strategist,” which will entail Roc Nation and Jay-Z consulting on entertainment, including the Super Bowl halftime show, and contributing to the league’s activism campaign, Inspire Change. While the press conference revealed details about how the entertainment partnership will work, including “Songs of the Season,” for which five artists from all different labels will record songs for NFL promotional spots and for which the artists will perform at a Pro Bowl concert; and an area on all streaming services where NFL-sponsored live performances, podcasts and playlists will be hosted.
More to come ….