I’m taking the newsletter in a different direction this week. Typically I focus on what’s happening with Nue but there’s something I’ve been grappling with lately and I want to start a dialogue about it.
I love Colin Kaepernick and have even had the privilege of working out next to him regularly at the gym. The day after Super Bowl LII, I almost asked him to spot me on the bench but I’m so in awe of what he’s done that I couldn’t pull the trigger. This man was willing to put his career on the line for something he believes in. He was unwavering and as a result, he’s still making history two years removed from football. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been to be blacklisted from doing the thing you love most. I truly believe the NFL conspired against him.
My feelings on this subject were thrown for a loop however, when I spoke with PJ Morton of Maroon 5 at the W Hotels Music Summit. He actively supports Kaepernick’s cause but feels that he should be allowed to perform at the Super Bowl — the #1 achievement for a musical artist globally — without backlash. Listening to him, I started to ask the question- if fans, consumers, and industry professionals are watching the game, attending the game, and spending valuable brand dollars on the game, why are we vilifying the artists performing at the game? Put simply, ‘don’t tell them they can’t play the show and then still personally or professionally participate in any way, shape, or form.’
The event organizers clearly felt the combination of Travis Scott, a person of color, with Maroon 5 would limit the social consequences of artists aligning with the most controversial league in American sports…but it hasn’t. ASTROWORLD (for the uninitiated is Scott’s fanbase) is reacting with anger about his decision too. Yet our friends and colleagues who are making elaborate Super Bowl party plans and spending record-breaking amounts on marketing around the game are somehow not held to the same standards or criticized in the same ways.
I thought it was very courageous of Cardi B. to decline the offer to perform but I was heartbroken that she would feel she had to decline the biggest stage on earth at the pinnacle of her career. Is hers the kind of leadership we need from every artist in order to affect real change? Are we holding our musicians to a different standard than we hold ourselves, our favorite brands, and our favorite athletes, who are playing in the game? Is that because music’s cultural role, historically, has been as the backstop against oppression and social injustice? Who determines who is responsible?
I really want to hear from you on this so, please, mash that reply button.
On a promotional note, we’re thrilled to be back in LA his week with the first #CRWN of the year featuring the WIZRD…Hndrxx…it’s FUTURE! Come through or catch the live stream on Tidal on Wednesday night.
Also published on Medium.