Jay-Z teams up with NFL to co-produce Super Bowl halftime show

14 August 2019 - 13:20 By AFP Relaxnews
American rapper and businessman, Shawn Corey Carter, known professionally as Jay-Z, has landed a mega-deal with the NFL.
American rapper and businessman, Shawn Corey Carter, known professionally as Jay-Z, has landed a mega-deal with the NFL.
Image: Jewel Samad / AFP

According to the New York Times, Jay-Z's Roc Nation agency has entered a deal with the NFL to become the football league's "live music entertainment strategist."

The partnership will see Roc Nation co-producing the Super Bowl halftime show, while also creating podcasts, visual albums, and organising other events for the league.

As the Washington Post points out, the deal does not include a provision for Jay-Z to be a halftime performer.

"He was very quick to say that he does not want this to be about him performing, that it was broader than that. It quickly went beyond that. Do I hope he'll perform in the Super Bowl sometime in the next several years? Yes. But I think we'll all know if that time comes", said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

In the past, the rapper has turned down invitations to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show, which is seen by more than 100 million people each year.

He alluded to the situation in the Beyoncé-assisted single Apeshit, rapping "I said no to the Super Bowl: you need me, I don't need you."

The Roc Nation's deal also allows Jay-Z to expand the NFL's Inspire Change initiative, in which the league donates to causes chosen by players. 

The musician will notably implement a series of programmes that will run throughout the year.

Among them are "Songs of the Season," a collection of inspirational songs from five artists that will be played during NFL TV broadcasts; and "Beyond the Field," a platform for players that may feature podcasts and playlists.

"The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive. They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good," Jay-Z told the New York Times.

These efforts arrive after a long-running controversy over the league's handling of players kneeling or sitting during the American national anthem to protest police brutality and social injustice.

The crisis notably involves former pro quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who accused NLF owners of collusion to keep him out of the league after he began protesting by taking a knee on the field during the 2016 season.

Jay-Z is known to be one of the most prominent champions of Kaepernick's cause, even calling him "an iconic figure."

Earlier this year, the NFL reached a multimillion-dollar settlement deal with Kaepernick and another 49ers player, Eric Reid.