Perception vs Reality

The whole point of doing away with the weekend posts and bringing back the special edition posts were to save content for our SHHE Speaks podcast, however we cannot gloss over this one. There is a dark cloud over Sean Carter’s head after he and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the league’s partnership with Roc Nation. The partnership is not with Jay Z himself, but Roc Nation which Hov founded. You can read the full press release for yourself but, “a core component of the partnership will be to amplify the Inspire Change platform priority areas identified by NFL Players, including Education and Economic Advancement, Improving Police-Community Relations, and Criminal Justice Reform.” Upon hearing about this partnership I tried to find one article, just one, that had a positive or even optimistic headline and guess what I found…nothing. Not one. Despite all the philanthropy Jay Z has done in the past it seems like everyone either forgot or somehow this partnership has erased everything. Now, I’m totally sure no one is going to boycott Jay Z or his music. Just like those NFL games people are still going to watch every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday people are still going to listen to Reasonable Doubt, American Gangster, and 4:44. I’m not here to tell you that Hov is right or wrong, I don’t think he’s a “sellout” by any means. I’m just here to offer some perspective.

Colin Kaepernick knelt three years ago with Eric Reid to bring awareness to injustices against Black-Americans and Latinx people in this country. He never wanted to be seen as a Civil Rights figure, all that man wanted to do and still wants to do is play football. Colin Kaepernick knows that all the attention he gets from the media and us is why he can’t. Despite popular belief every NFL owner isn’t against Kaepernick having a job, they just don’t want to deal with the media circus that would come along with it and neither does Kap. Since being exiled from the NFL Kap has done so much in the community from, donating his own clothes to creating the “Know Your Rights Camp”. Kap did what we all need to do which is walking the walk, he took action. I think in this new age of social media people get confused about what activism really looks like. Activism is exactly what it says; act-ing, act-ion, act-ive, or simply act! After you’ve protested, knelt, possibly jailed, or killed you have to actually (there’s that prefix again) do something to change what you’re protesting about. Otherwise, you’re protesting for nothing.

I’m not negating the fact that there is a lot of money at stake here, Jay Z is a Black Republican-ish man living in a capitalist society. Have you been listening to his music lately? Whether or not Jay Z is now the NFL’s proverbial “Black friend” he didn’t tell his wife not to perform at the Super Bowl in 2016. Every year the NFL gets criticized for getting it wrong so they decided to hire someone with all the cultural cache’ to make sure that they get it right in their 100th season as the country commemorates 400 years since the first African slaves were brought to this un-colonized land mass. Both Jay Z and the NFL are benefiting from each other, it is still unknown who is benefiting the most from this partnership, but at this moment the NFL is up because Hov is catching all the hate…from us. Change requires discourse and discomfort which requires all of us to get off of the computer and challenge ourselves to become the change we see in Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid, Nipsey Hussle, Tommie Smith, John Carlos, and Tupac Shakur. Give Hov the benefit of the doubt. Ask yourself, other than criticizing Sean Corey Carter. Are you donating your time, money, efforts, energy, or anything to being a catalyst in your community other than post a meme or tweet a hashtag? Are you even planning to vote in November? If not there’s a bigger problem I need to show you in the mirror.

“Muhammad Hovi my back against the rope.” – Jay Z (Oceans)

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