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What would happen if Jay-Z took a knee?

Photo Credit: Maridav

Music mogul Jay-Z, in defending his new business relationship with the NFL, says “we’ve moved past kneeling.”

Let’s fix this for him. Jay-Z has moved past kneeling; the rest of us, not so much.

I can understand Jay-Z defending his new relationship with the NFL, which is being sold to us as Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment company, consulting with the NFL on entertainment and social-justice initiatives.

Quick aside: doesn’t it feel like the part about social justice is kinda just thrown in there to make a basic deal to have Jay-Z and Roc Nation doing some music stuff and getting paid for it look like something else?


There shouldn’t be anything wrong with Jay-Z making money doing work for the NFL, and actually, I can buy the notion that him lending his street cred to the NFL can drag the NFL closer to where it needs to be in terms of doing things with more than the interests of the white-male billionaires who run the business in mind.

The inartful way that he tried to get that point across, though, damn.

We haven’t moved past kneeling. The president still boosts white supremacists, says women of color critics should go back to where they came from, and on and on, and the people who profit the most from our obsession with pro football send millions of the dollars they generate from that obsession to his re-election campaign.

The rest of the quote from Jay-Z was “it’s time for action.”

No problem, again, with him making a buck from the NFL, but helping the NFL with the halftime show at the Super Bowl is not the kind of action that will address racial inequality.

The question that prompted his statement about kneeling was direct: would he kneel or stand during the national anthem?

As much as he thinks kneeling isn’t action, imagine the impact of Jay-Z, now an NFL partner, kneeling during an anthem at a game.

That knee would spur untold amount of positive action.

Column by Chris Graham