Jay-Z has signed up to a partnership with the NFL that will see him take on a role as live music entertainment strategist, placing him in a position of considerable influence on the Super Bowl halftime show for a number of years to come.
The new role will allow him to have a say on the selection of talent for the halftime show, while he will also be involved in leading and developing other music-related events affiliated with the American football league.
The move has drawn criticism however, particularly due to Jay-Z's previous support of player Colin Kaepernick. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has gone unsigned in recent years following his decision to kneel during the National Anthem at the start of football matches as a protest against police brutality towards black people in the US. On Jay-Z's 2018 track with Beyoncé, 'APESHIT', he rapped, "I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don’t need you." That lyric referenced Jay-Z's decision to decline an invitation to perform during the 2018 halftime show as a show of support for Kaepernick. Rihanna similarly declined the offer.
“The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” Jay-Z has said in an interview at Roc Nation in Manhattan, noting his previous disagreements with the league. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, [so] that we can do some good.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell added his own thoughts on the matter earlier this month, saying, “We don’t want people to come in and necessarily agree with us. I think that’s a core element of our relationship between the two organizations, and with Jay and I personally.”
Earlier this summer, Jay-Z was named the world's first billionaire rapper. He's also contributed to a new book on Glastonbury's 50th anniversary, having headlined the festival in 2008, which is out in October.