By Victor Allison/reporter
Jay-Z isn’t qualified to lead a social justice movement.
Jay-Z just struck a deal with the NFL to become their social justice representative Some think that’s a good idea. It’s not.
Many who agree with the partnership will cite his past work for social justice, like producing documentaries concerning police brutality or working with rapper Meek Mill on criminal justice reform initiatives.
This makes him a fine candidate for philanthropist of the year, but there’s a difference between being a well-meaning philanthropist and someone who can strategize for liberation.
When Colin Kaepernick, who was blackballed by the NFL for protesting the national anthem, was trying to make a change, his objective was to voice the pain of the people.
Jay-Z wants to tell the people how to feel, and nothing made this more apparent than his recent press conference announcing the deal.
“We moved past kneeling,” he told reporters when asked if he still supported on field protests from NFL players.
Somewhere in Jay-Z’s mind he believes that his ascent from Marcy Projects in Brooklyn to black billionaire status means he knows the way for disadvantaged people.
He thinks he has the blueprint for success, and that the masses should shut up and follow his lead. But, the leader of a movement’s job is to be a servant of the people, not the dictator. I’m not sure Jay-Z’s ego will allow him space for that.
This is certainly not all Jay-Z’s fault. Leadership in the black community has become defunct. No more Martin Luther Kings or Malcolm Xs.
Many look to the brightest of brightest stars for guidance, like celebrities, athletes and black billionaires because they “made it” or have influence. Some think they have the key to the promised land.
Jay-Z is a billionaire. What he can do is raise money and leverage his cultural cache to make social justice cool. However, what he should not be doing is telling us how to feel, or where we should go from here.