• Ari Patrinos

The Hip-Hop Moguls vs. Colin Kaepernick: Afterthoughts

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

The dispute arising between Jay-Z and Colin Kaepernick over Jay's services contract with the NFL is bigger than the specific beef itself.

Think about Beyonce's new Disney blockbuster, the Lion King remake. This is a huge success for Queen Bey. But don't forget that Disney owns ABC and ESPN, which has a very close business relationship with the NFL, including licensing rights to broadcast NFL games.

The business relationships that Jay & Bey have formed here is what these two have been working towards most of their life. They are artists and capitalists. Part of what makes them special is their ability to bridge these two warring ways of being-in-the-world.

Gaining corporate endorsements has always been especially prized by black athletes. Sine the days of Babe Ruth, white superstars have made significant additional earnings from product endorsements, which had eluded black athletes. Michael Jordan took this to a new level. Today we are seeing a black billionaire class being built through professional sports. At least those who handle their money wisely.

Being a star professional athlete makes entering the business world after retirement much easier, because experienced wealthy businessmen will often desire one's company. This makes it easy to network, make contacts, and get financing.

Even Colin Kaepernick has a multi-million dollar deal with Nike, an important NFL sponsor itself. Not for being a athlete so much as a powerful 'symbol of rebellion'. A 'symbol of rebellion' that has been mass produced and smartly packaged for mass consumption. So while his tweets have shown ambivalence towards black capitalism, he is still in business with the same network of companies. Whether he likes it or not, the same money that Nike makes from selling Kap's image, is flowing from Nike to the NFL.

That's capitalism.

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