Jay-Z is attempting to “inspire change” with his new partnership with the NFL, and his first move is to put on a free concert and sell merch.
The NFL and Roc Nation have announced that, in support of the social justice platform Inspire Change, Meghan Trainor, Meek Mill, Rapsody, and DJ Pharris will be performing a free concert at Grant Park in Chicago on Thursday, Sept. 5. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to social justice organizations, and parts of Trainor and Mill’s performances will be livestreamed on NBC and NFL Network’s pregame coverage from 7:30 to 8:10 p.m. ET, before the first game of the season kicks off between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.
Trainor, Mill, and Rapsody have been named the first Inspire Change Advocates in advance of the concert. It was also announced that Inspire Change will sell apparel later this year.
The announcements are already garnering strong reactions on social media:
Earlier this month, it was announced that the NFL signed a deal with Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports company, setting the company as the league’s “live music entertainment strategist” to consult on entertainment, including the Super Bowl halftime show, and contribute to the NFL’s activism initiative, Inspire Change. The news was met with some confusion, as many wondered why Jay-Z, who has very publicly supported Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who kicked off a nationwide controversy by sitting or kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial discrimination, would partner with the very same league embroiled in controversy over its handling of Kaepernick and other players’ protests.
“The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” Jay-Z said in an interview with The New York Times. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
“We don’t want people to come in and necessarily agree with us; we want people to come in and tell us what we can do better,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the Times. “I think that’s a core element of our relationship between the two organizations, and with Jay and I personally.”