“For me, I think that it shows…a level of inclusion,” T.I. said on The View. “One of the things that I was critical of the NFL for is kind of trying to…benefit from the culture without being true to the culture, and without actually tapping into resources and relationships that could speak for us authentically.”
He was referring to a partnership announced earlier this year between Jay-Z’ Roc Nation and the NFL as the league’s official Live Music Entertainment Strategists. The partnership, which went into effect at the start of the current 2019-20 season, will serve to strengthen community through music and the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative. This is bigger than “music and sports; it’s about unifying America,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at an intimate press event held at Roc Nation’s New York City headquarters.
“You’ve been raising the consciousness of this country for decades. Why do you feel like partnering with the NFL will further your mission to inspire rather than doing what you’ve been doing, which seems to be speaking out against it?” BLACK ENTERPRISE asked the rapper at the time of the announcement.
“People have to evolve, and people have to want to be better,” Carter replied. “I believe real changes [are accomplished] through real conversation and real work. And what better way to do it, then where the conversation first took place.”
This isn’t the first time T.I. has come to the defense of Jay-Z’s partnership with the football league. In August, the rapper posted a video on Instagram stating, “What I hate most is that the oppressor takes advantage of opportunities like these to divide us and continue on with their operations as usual all too often,” he wrote. “I believe in what [Colin Kaepernick] represents as much as I believe in what [Jay-Z] represents [and] I ain’t gotta turn on either of them to do it.”
He also said last week that there are aspects of the NFL “that definitely need to be addressed, but the greatest journey begins with one step, and I feel like Jay-Z is a person that I trust, knowing his reputation and knowing him personally.”
“Support for Jay does not mean a lack of support for Kap or vice versa,” he declared.