As a business major in college, I learned all about marketing and how business work hard to detach consumers from our money. One of the most profound lessons I learned about marketing and business was this little-discussed activity we engage in from time to time called impulse purchases.
Impulse purchases are basically unplanned, spur-of-the-moment decisions to buy something because we are triggered by seeing the product. When I originally read it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. All I could think about was how many times I’ve been browsing in the grocery store and picked up candy, chips, drinks, sale items, or other stuff I didn’t need right at the front entrance of the store because they love to put items eye shot to swoon me out of my hard earned coins. I was livid to think researchers have our psychology so pegged that they know how to stage impulse purchase items as we shop, where to place them on shelves or geographically in a store setting, and how to market certain items to make us believe we need them and convince us they are good, when in reality it’s not a good thing for us and we don’t need that item.
Just think about the last time you were in the store checking out and that chocolate candy bar spoke to your spirit at the cash register. It’s all by design. It’s all intentional. The consumer researchers know us better than we know ourselves.
Fast Forward to Jay-Z and the NFL Deal
The backlash that has come because Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the racist national anthem to protest our unjust criminal justice system, and police brutality was unexpected by the NFL. Kaepernick and other players in the league both Black and White thought they were highlighting America’s hypocrisy and White Supremacy off the football field. But what Kaepernick and company did was exposed (again) the NFL’s White Supremacy problem. Kaepernick’s protest of the NFL illustrated to the world White Supremacy and capitalism are married to each other. You cannot have one without the other.
Not only was the reaction of White people swift, it was also angry. Any time you address White Supremacy, White Privilege soon follows.
White patriots opposed disrespecting “their” National Anthem, as they saw it as an assault on “their” country. If we Blacks didn’t like it, we could leave they said. The racist President felt inclined to chimed in, encouraging the NFL to “Get that son of a bitch off the field.” The President of the United States called a Black man in America a son of a bitch on national television, and the NFL obliged. Meditate on that.
As a mother of three Black sons three Black grandsons, the resident Clown-in-Chief’s suggestion was an insult. To me, there was nothing more disrespectful or more humiliating than Kaep being called a son of a bitch by a man who has since announced he is a White Nationalists, being unceremoniously demoted, and later fired.
For Black men and willing so easy, and so willing to forgive the NFL for these egregious disrespect of Kaepernick stand for Jay-Z lost nothing and only has to gain from this venture, you’re condone White hate, racism, and White Supremacy. Pat yourselves on the backs.
Kneeling for justice was negatively impacting the NFL’s bottom line, and Goodell needed to do something about it. Ticket sales were down. Jersey sales were down, and people weren’t watching the games on Sundays, Mondays or Thursdays (I quit watching football after the protest myself). Most people don’t realize how far-reaching professional football’s economic footprint is. Football feeds a lot of businesses we tend to not think about, such as sports bars, beer and alcohol sales, grocery stores (game watch parties), sports cable television networks, etc. Football is a business, and it’s a business with long arms.
Jay-Z Represents the Black “Cool Factor”
The NFL is comprised primarily of rich, White billionaire businessmen in business solely to make money and entertain their consumers. Anything getting in the way of that must be stopped. And while the NFL removed Kaepernick (the distraction) from the field and out of our sight, they did not erase the reason for the protest from our minds. As long as police brutality exists, we resist, to include consuming the NFL. Players still to this day are protesting, and so are many of the NFL’s millions of consumers. The league thought they could survive purely on White dollars. They learned overtime, they cannot. The wounds are deep, and sometimes, are memories are long. The NFL underestimated our Black consumption power in the United States.
According to Nielson’s research, with African Americans spending $1.2 trillion every year, brands have a lot to lose. The NFL and Jay-Z are brands, and the NFL brand has been losing out on Black dollars, hence the new collaboration with Jay-Z.
A 2018 consumer demographic study by the global measurement and data analytics company said: “Our research shows that Black consumer choices have a ‘cool factor’ that has created a halo effect, influencing not just consumers of color but the mainstream as well,” said Cheryl Grace, Senior Vice President of U.S. Strategic Community Alliances and Consumer Engagement, Nielsen. “These figures show that investment by multinational conglomerates in R&D (research and development) to develop products and marketing that appeal to diverse consumers is paying off handsomely.”
Black people, they see us as cool factors, which translates into money for White corporate America. We influence the mainstream. We are trendsetters, and we are money makers. We were impacting the NFL, without Jay-Z, yet Judas Jay-Z will help the NFL market and appeal to diverse consumers, which is us. His collaboration with the NFL is putting a halo on a pile of horseshit.
The only thing that motivates pure capitalists are the thoughts of making more money or recovering losses. the NFL, had to devise a plan to appease the Black masses because at the end of day, the NFL is all about their paper. If it doesn’t make them dollars, then it makes little sense. Neilsen along with other marketing and research analysts have researched Black consumers long enough to understand our Black “cool factor” sells.
The NFL needed to be cool again. They needed to get their Black audience back (especially since the league is overwhelming Black). So when they got Hov, they hit the mother load.
Foremost, he’s Black. He’s one half of the wealthiest and most powerful entertainment duo in American history. He’s connected to the things that we Blacks are heavily vested in, music and entertainment, and he has invaluable assets in his vast business and street repertoires to further any White billionaire’s capitalist agenda. What Blacks do not realize is that Jay is a billionaire too. He’s one of them now. Jay’s entrepreneurial endeavors far outweigh his social innovation. Us putting out trust in him says it doesn’t take much to appease us. We have very low standards.
The message sent by the NFL and Jay-Z regarding unconscionable collaboration: They hate our skin; they don’t care about our bodies, but they love our money.
Jay-Z’s and the NFL’s collaborative is purely business. Becoming the NFL’s “Live Music Entertainment Strategist” makes HOV the NFL’s new minstrel and pied piper of the Black and Brown masses. Sadly, most Blacks don’t understand most White businesses see them as a dollar/consumer, causing them to easily fall prey to the predatory consumer capitalism. How is this entertainment collaborative with no teeth going to address police and social injustices? Is the Jay-Z/NFL new collaborative going to create new federal, state, and local criminal justice policies and reform? Nope.
Will the collaborative stop people in Mississippi from being harassed; over policed and beaten by rogue cops? Nope, not directly. Will the collaborative come up with national reforms or uniform practices for hiring and policing? It likely won’t.
Will the NFL use their NFL lobbyist in Washington, D.C. to advocate for federal legislation and appropriations to restore trust in the criminal justice system and revamp an overtly hostile, racist criminal justice system that hunts my sons and grands sons like animals? Nope, they haven’t done so in all these years, I’m not expecting that leopard will change its spots in 2019. Besides, the NFL hired a Republican lobbying firm a few years ago, not long before Kaep began protesting, around the time agent orange was running for President. If the NFL decided to hire a Republican lobbying firm, it says a lot about their politics.
The NFL has their priorities in order. Poor Black folks are the ones who have their priorities misplaced.
We have missed the “real deal” because we’ve been entertained to death and hypnotized by our Judas Black Pied Piper? And that’s the point! White Supremacy will keep us distracted while Jay-Z has us dancing and consuming their products. Black dollars matter, and to the NFL and Jay-Z, they matter much more than Black lives. We don’t have to read between the lines.
The Elephant That Won’t Leave The Room
The NFL figured if they got rid of Kaepernick and time moved on, we would forget and come back. Except we didn’t. The biggest consumer base was missing, and the NFL began to feel the impact of our economic boycotts. Add to that Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid could prove their collusion case against the NFL which led to an undisclosed settlement, and the NFL’s brand was deeply tarnished — again. This thing wasn’t going away. The NFL is an organization steeped in racial segregation. White Privilege and White Supremacy, much like America.
By winning the collusion case, Kaepernick and Reid have shown Blacks how to beat White Supremacy at its one and only a game, pure capitalism. Jay-Z has shown us how to get into bed with White Supremacy for self-enrichment, taking poor, misguided Black souls along for the ride.
The collaboration does not differ from mega church pastors preying on their flocks. Poor folks help keep them rich as you maintain in poverty. I’m all for Jay-Z making money, but not at the expense of our social justice movement. There are hundreds of thousands of young men and women of color who don’t get the attention or help of a Meek Mill or an A$AP Rocky. Kaepernick and Reid’s protests spoke for those who men and women who don’t have a voice. Jay-Z swooped in and made it all about him.
And while Kaepernick has missed the mark from time to time (like when he suggested Black and POCs should not to vote, or relying on suspect “national” platforms) I chalk it up to naivete and not understanding social justice advocacy and charitable works. Credibility and a good reputation are essential for success. He has informed us this is a movement, and we Black folks will have to pick a side.
Jay-Z’s actions are something different. When he tells us he is a “business, man,” we should believe him. As a businessman, Jay-Z practices the same vulture capitalism White Supremacy practices. He uses the same marketing and strategies to get us all to buy whatever it is he’s selling. If his social justice is done with ulterior motives, do we really need or want his help?
What makes Jay-Z and this NFL collaborative more dangerous than your average White vulture capitalist is that he and his wife know us intimately. Jay knows how to appeal to our Black emotions. He understands how we think. He preys on the fact we are naïve with how business (pure American capitalism) works. He will sell our souls for the mighty dollar. Our justice is collateral damage of his business, financial, and political aspirations.
Jay-Z understands how White Supremacy really works, which is how he got to become a billionaire. If you play their game, they’ll give you something. If you help them, they’ll help you. If you sell them your soul (and your grandma’s), they’ll reward your for it. Jay-Z is so billionaire bound that he’s barely any good on this earth anymore. I’m not supporting White Supremacy, therefore, I cannot in good faith endorse his horrible collaborative with the NFL.
Jay is married to the game, and the game now is White Supremacy. Everyone Brown ain’t down, and we need to understand this in the age of Donald Trump. Blacks can’t afford to engage in predatory capitalism because we will lose. The game wasn’t designed by us, and it wasn’t made for us to be inside of it. It gives nothing, it only takes. Remember Barclays? The Samsung Holy Grail Release? The Tidal Kanye, Jay-Z class action lawsuit? Roc-a-Fella Records?
To Jay-Z and those Black folks who believe in his actions, know he sees us all as dollars, trendsetters, and cool factors, which makes good sense to his entrepreneurial spirit. Black trauma always trumps the legacy of rich White men, and Jay-Z is helping them to re-establish theirs as he ruins his. But who cares about legacy when you’re as rich as NFL owner’s right?
Black folks will be the collateral damage as Jay-Z adds to his long list of entrepreneurial endeavors at the expense of Black folks and their pocketbooks.
We Blacks didn’t get to sit where we wanted today on the bus because we inked deals with White Supremacists. Our ancestors didn’t get to walk in the front door of a restaurant because we partnered with rich White men to do glossy PR ads. We were beaten and jailed for the right to sit at a lunch counter, no one was making videos set to blues to help us tell our stories. We fought, and we sued; we were beaten and jailed, and some of our ancestors even died for the right to live free like Whites. I don’t know all the details of the collaboration, but I know a Judas when I see one, and I’m taking cover.
The older I get, the more this old country saying rings true. Everything good ain’t Black, and everything Black ain’t good. If we aren’t fighting for justice and equity, then what in the hell are we doing? Consuming?
#ImStillWithKaep and #EricReid
©2019 Marley K. All rights reserved.