Jay-Z deemed ‘insufficiently woke’

Jim Geraghty of National Review Online explores the animosity surrounding rapper Jay-Z’s newly announced deal with the National Football League.

Jay-Z’s agreeing to a lucrative partnership with the NFL was sufficient provocation for some progressive African-American writers to compare him to Judas: At The Root, Angela Helm writes that Jay-Z has received “half of his thirty pieces of silver,” amid rumors that Jay-Z will soon acquire a “significant ownership interest” in an NFL team.

Former ESPN host Jamele Hill called Jay-Z “an accomplice in the [NFL’s] hypocrisy” and charged, “Jay-Z has given the NFL exactly what it wanted: guilt-free access to black audiences, culture, entertainers, and influencers.” …

… In the eyes of the African-American, social-justice Left, any NFL partnership with Jay-Z, any roundtable discussions, and any public-awareness campaigns are mere window-dressing to obscure their past unjust actions and viewpoints, injustice best exemplified by the treatment of [Colin] Kaepernick. The more the NFL does to try to win over these critics, the more those critics will loudly denounce those efforts as a bad-faith or cynical public-relations effort. In this mindset, social justice means Kaepernick playing again, and any outcome without that element cannot constitute true social justice.

In the eyes of the self-proclaimed “woke,“ there is only one way that the National Football League can demonstrate sufficient devotion to their cause, and that is to see Kaepernick in an NFL uniform again. …

… With the possibility of a team signing Kaepernick extremely unlikely, what is the NFL supposed to do? Would these activists, writers, and NFL players prefer that the NFL ignore the issues of police brutality, insufficient opportunities in African-American communities, the human consequences of the war on drugs? The league is giving these voices something they’ve demanded for a long time. Now that it has arrived, no one seems all that happy or satisfied.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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