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By Not Playing Super Bowl, Jay-Z Shows He Will Not Be NFL's Token

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Jay-Z Knows His Power


Music mogul and rap icon Jay-Z does not need the National Football League (NFL) or the Super Bowl.


The Super Bowl and the NFL needs Jay-Z.


With NFL television ratings in constant decline, a 2018 halftime Super Bowl performance by “Jigga” might be just what the NFL doctors ordered to inject some spice into their struggling product.


But Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé are just as powerful as the billionaire owners who are ferociously attempting to squash the political voice of its predominantly Black workforce by blackballing politically active superstars like former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.


So why would the rapper born Shawn Carter allow himself to be used as a token for conservative White billionaire NFL owners who only seem to care about the Black community if the Black community is tuned in for its games?


According to FoxNews.com, “Rapper Jay-Z reportedly turned down the chance to perform at February’s Super Bowl LII halftime show in solidarity with embattled former quarterback Colin Kaepernick.


“The rapper has allegedly rejected the offer to perform at the show in Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, The Source reported.  Jay-Z’s wife, Beyoncé, performed at halftime show with Bruno Mars in 2016.”


Jay-Z and the rest of the Black community are veterans of how tokenism is used to shut the Black community up and the Black community of the 21st century is not falling for it.


Tokenism is what President George H.W. Bush used when he nominated Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as the replacement of civil rights stalwart Justice Thurgood Marshall.


Thomas was merely a token because although he was a Black face, he did not seem to care for Black issues and Bush could possibly brag about the fact that he nominated someone with a Black face to replace a Black hero on the bench.


Therefore, the Supreme Court really did not have to address issues from a Black perspective but could brag about its diverse optics.


Fox News Channel has mastered tokenism through the years as well.


The cable news giant has employed Black faces like Sherriff David Clark, but they rarely employ a contributor who truly speaks up for the Black community.


However, Fox News can boast that they have a few Black faces on the air without addressing the true concerns of the Black community from authentic and sincere Black perspectives.


It seems as if the NFL was trying to do the same with Jay-Z.


The NFL has affectively banned Kaepernick from playing in the NFL for kneeling during the national anthem as a protest of police brutality and systemic racism during the 2016 season.


NFL players coaches, executives, owners and fans have spoken out against Kaepernick’s method of protest, but like football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe often says they often refuse to address what Kaepernick was protesting, which was police brutality and the systemic oppression of Black people in America.


So to show that the NFL is “down” with hip-hop and “down” with diversity, they attempt to trot out a hip-hop icon to quiet the protesting Black fans with an artist that many in the community adore.


The NFL even attempted to sign an artist who just released a socially conscious album (“4:44”), but the blatant attempt at tokenism will not work.


It will take more than just a performance by Jay-Z to show that the NFL actually cares about its diverse fan base.


It will take a concerted effort by the powerful billionaire NFL owners to use their political connections and clout to stop the oppression that Black people face in America.


If owners like Houston Texans CEO Robert McNair can donate large sums of money to things like President Donald Trump’s election campaign, he can surely speak out against the racism that affects the majority of his players and try to enact legislative change.


But the NFL owners have to realize that music, shucking and jiving will not impress the current generation of Black leaders.


Good try though!

This article was published on Friday 22 September, 2017.
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