Rapper Jay-Z has inked a deal with the NFL that will allow him to assist the league in managing its entertainment and social justice endeavors, which are tied into the league’s existing “Inspire Change” program.
The NFL is teaming up with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency in a deal that will allow the company to co-produce the Super Bowl halftime show. Through the partnership, Roc Nation will select entertainers to perform in NFL content throughout the season, per Sports Illustrated.
“With its global reach, the National Football League has the platform and opportunity to inspire change across the country,” Jay-Z said according to ESPN. “Roc Nation has shown that entertainment and enacting change are not mutually exclusive ideas — instead, we unify them. This partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in an interview he hopes Jay-Z will perform sometime in the future during a halftime show but the new deal does not stipulate that he’s required to do so.
“He was very quick to say that he does not want this to be about him performing, that it was broader than that,” Goodell told The Washington Post. “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 reportedly turned down the opportunity to perform at Super Bowl LI in 2018 amid that backlash against free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who protested the national anthem before football games in order to raise social injustice awareness.
Jay has since partnered with Meek Mill and the owners of the 76ers, Nets and Patriots to launch The Reform Alliance, an organization aimed at addressing criminal justice reform.