Meek Mill and Rapsody will both perform a free concert during the NFL Kickoff Experience at Chicago’s Grant Park on September 5th, the first event under the new partnership between Jay-Z’s Roc Nation and the NFL.
The rappers will host two Chicago-based community organizations, BBF Family Services and Crushers Club, for the concert; following the gig, the Chicago Bears’ season-opening game against the Green Bay Packers will screen live in Grant Park for concertgoers.
In addition to celebrating the start of a new football season, the NFL Kickoff event will also mark the launch of both Inspire Change apparel and Songs of the Season; the former will “support organizations committed to the key priorities of Inspire Change: education and economic empowerment, police and community relations, and criminal justice reform, while Songs of the Season “will showcase musicians that will create and deliver a song to be integrated in all NFL promotions each month during the season,” Roc Nation and the NFL said Friday. Proceeds from those songs will also benefit Inspire Change.
Earlier this month, Roc Nation announced that they would serve as “live music entertainment strategist” for the NFL, even though Jay-Z had been critical of the league’s handling of the anthem protests and its treatment of Colin Kaepernick.
“The NFL has a great big platform, and it has to be all-inclusive,” Jay-Z told the New York Times when the partnership was announced. “They were willing to do some things, to make some changes, that we can do some good.”
However, Jay-Z has faced continued reproach for aligning with the NFL, with Carolina Panthers’ Eric Reid, Kaepernick’s former teammate on the San Francisco 49ers, among the more vocal critics of the rapper.
“I think that we forget that Colin’s whole thing was to bring attention to social injustice, correct?” Jay-Z said in a follow-up press conference, defending the deal.
“So in that case, this is a success; this is the next thing. ‘Cause there’s two parts of protesting. You go outside and you protest, and then the company or the individual says, ‘I hear you. What do we do next?’ So for me it was like, action, actionable item, what are we going to do with it? Everyone heard and we hear what you’re saying, and everybody knows I agree with what you’re saying. So what are we going to do? So we should, millions of millions of people, and all we get stuck on [is] Colin not having a job.”