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Roc Nation and NFL collaborate to inspire change

Roc Nation announced it has entered into a long-term partnership with the National Football League as the league’s official Live Music Entertainment Strategists.

The partnership will begin as the NFL’s 100th season kicks off and will serve as a commitment from Roc Nation and the NFL to nurture and strengthen community through music and the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative. 

What it really means?

Roc Nation will spearhead and advise on the selection of artists for NFL tentpole performances, including the Super Bowl, and will assist in the production and promotion of new music as well as culture- and cause-focused initiatives.  

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. 

Roc Nation and the NFL will work together to create and distribute music content across multiple music streaming services for a variety of initiatives. Roc Nation will work alongside the league with artists to curate the richness of football culture nationwide. Content initiatives may include a Live Visual Album, “Songs of the Season” original music, archived and current content from live NFL music events and artist podcasts.

“The NFL and Roc Nation share a vision of inspiring meaningful social change across our country. We are thrilled to partner with Roc Nation and look forward to making a difference in our communities together.”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Roc Nation will also consult and collaborate on various aspects of production, promotion, marketing, and communications for live music events and related activations, which include new endeavors such as Songs of the Season and a Pro Bowl Community Concert.

The controversy

In a press conference held at the Roc Nation offices, Jay-Z answered questions about the deal alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. One of the most controversial aspects surrounding the new partnership is its arrival after Jay’s years-long criticism the league’s handling of Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protest against police brutality, which other players also took up.

“I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct? So in that case this is a success; this is the next thing. ‘Cause 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?’ So for me it was like, action, actionable item, what are we going to do with it? Everyone heard and we hear what you’re saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying. So what are we going to do? So we should, millions of millions of people, and all we get stuck on [is] Colin not having a job.”

Jay say during the conference

We all heard how Jay-Z had turned down the opportunity to perform at Super Bowl LI in 2018. At another concert around that time, he dedicated a song to free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who decided to protest the national anthem before football games in order to raise awareness of social injustice in America. He’s been vocal in support of the quarterback who has gone unsigned since the end of the 2016 NFL season.

It’s certainly an interesting move, and not at all something I’d expect to see but I’m curious to see the route it takes…

Photo credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports

Article written by:

Liz has covered the NFL for five seasons, and currently serves as Managing Editor for Ninety-Nine Yards and for her own website, NFLGirlUK.com. Since launching the website in 2014, she has made regular appearances on the TalkSport2 ‘All American Sports Show’ with Nat Coombs and in 2016 was ranked No.37 (of 400+) in the “Super Bowl: Top 50 UK Influencers” by marketing software producers Analytica for “igniting conversations” between fans.

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