Is Jay-Z a sellout?

Miles Richardson | Staff Writer

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Flickr User Bugzy Talor

The NFL on Aug. 13 announced its partnership with Roc Nation, a music company owned by Jay-Z, hip-hop’s first billionaire.

The deal quickly stirred controversy.

It followed Jay-Z criticizing the NFL for scapegoating kneeling-to-take-a-stand quarterback Colin Kaepernick and cautioning fellow rapper Jermaine Dupri against working with the league in a similar capacity.

Many wondered about Jay-Z’s intentions for entering the partnership.

This begs the question: Is Jay-Z a sellout?  The answer is yes, but not necessarily the bad kind. For his entire career, Shawn Corey Carter, aka Jay-Z, has been a sellout. How so?

He’s been selling out night clubs, stadiums and arenas with his music for more than two decades.

Although his records brought him most of his initial fame and financial success, rapping is not what has made Jay-Z most prominent. There’s a reason why Jay-Z is the only rap artist to ever become a billionaire; it’s because he is a true capitalist.

So much so that he took the profits from his No. 1 albums and invested them into his own liquor, art, real estate and clothing brand. He once rapped in the song Diamonds From Sierra Leone, “I’m not a businessman; I’m a BUSINESS, man.”

Jay-Z has and always will be about building wealth for himself and his family, but he has never done so at the expense of anyone else.  He simply plays the game and plays to win.  Shouldn’t he continue to do so?

When asked about the controversy, Hampton University senior Toni Wright said: “I’m not mad at it. Somebody has to pave the way for us, and they’re not gonna let [Kaepernick] do it. Instead of hating on it, we should be celebrating him for trying to put us in a better position.”

By Jay-Z capitalizing on this opportunity, black people are given a voice within the NFL that can be used to effect change. So, we should be celebrating.

According to Hampton University economics professor Dr. Oliver Jones: “We create more influence by accumulating resources. Often times, we stay away from opportunities because we don’t like something and end up cutting ourselves out of a chance to make money. Get your foot in the door then make whatever statement you want, kneel down or stand up.”

Our answer to facing every race-related issue cannot and should not be to boycott. At some point, we have to start getting strategic about how we operate and stop shooting ourselves in the foot by passing up chances for economic empowerment.

In the words of HU freshman Yanaiya Sa’Aadat, “Jay-Z was right — it was time we moved past kneeling.”

Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL means progress towards Kaepernick’s original goal and adding one more black executive to the minuscule number of them in the NFL today. So, yes, Jay-Z is a sellout, but maybe more of us should be, too.

The NFL on Aug. 13 announced its partnership with Roc Nation, a music company owned by Jay-Z, hip-hop’s first billionaire.

The deal quickly stirred controversy. It followed Jay-Z criticizing the NFL for scapegoating kneeling-to-take-a-stand quarterback Colin Kaepernick and cautioning fellow rapper Jermaine Dupri against working with the league in a similar capacity.

Many wondered about Jay-Z’s intentions for entering the partnership.  This begs the question: Is Jay-Z a sellout?

The answer is yes, but not necessarily the bad kind. For his entire career, Shawn Corey Carter, aka Jay-Z, has been a sellout. How so?

He’s been selling out night clubs, stadiums and arenas with his music for more than two decades.

Although his records brought him most of his initial fame and financial success, rapping is not what has made Jay-Z most prominent. There’s a reason why Jay-Z is the only rap artist to ever become a billionaire; it’s because he is a true capitalist.

So much so that he took the profits from his No. 1 albums and invested them into his own liquor, art, real estate and clothing brand. He once rapped in the song Diamonds From Sierra Leone, “I’m not a businessman; I’m a BUSINESS, man.”

Jay-Z has and always will be about building wealth for himself and his family, but he has never done so at the expense of anyone else.  He simply plays the game and plays to win.  Shouldn’t he continue to do so?

When asked about the controversy, Hampton University senior Toni Wright said: “I’m not mad at it. Somebody has to pave the way for us, and they’re not gonna let [Kaepernick] do it. Instead of hating on it, we should be celebrating him for trying to put us in a better position.”

By Jay-Z capitalizing on this opportunity, black people are given a voice within the NFL that can be used to effect change. So, we should be celebrating.

According to Hampton University economics professor Dr. Oliver Jones: “We create more influence by accumulating resources. Often times, we stay away from opportunities because we don’t like something and end up cutting ourselves out of a chance to make money. Get your foot in the door then make whatever statement you want, kneel down or stand up.”

Our answer to facing every race-related issue cannot and should not be to boycott. At some point, we have to start getting strategic about how we operate and stop shooting ourselves in the foot by passing up chances for economic empowerment.

In the words of HU freshman Yanaiya Sa’Aadat, “Jay-Z was right — it was time we moved past kneeling.”

Jay-Z’s partnership with the NFL means progress towards Kaepernick’s original goal and adding one more black executive to the minuscule number of them in the NFL today. So, yes, Jay-Z is a sellout, but maybe more of us should be, too.

 

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