After Jay Z and Roc Nation’s lucrative deal with the NFL was announced last week, many blasted the artist for his business decision despite its inclusion of a social justice plan. As rappers like Freddie Gibbs and scholars like Eric Michael Dyson lend support to Mr. Carter, others like athlete Eric Reid and cultural commentator/author Jemelle Hill have continued to push Kaepernick’s mission to the forefront.
During Harlem Week, activist Rev. Al Sharpton provided his input into the matter by asking the public to focus on the bigger picture. “This ain’t about Colin Kaepernick’s knee,” Sharpton said at the National Action Network’s rally on Saturday (Aug. 17) “It’s about choking Eric Garner to death, it’s about the shooting of Tamir Rice, it’s about Michael Brown.”
He continued to share how TMZ approached him with cameras and baited questions about the ordeal which he refused to take part in.
“They asked [me] ‘What do you think about Jay Z? They’re calling him a sellout and all that.’ I said, ‘The issue is Jay Z has done documentaries around and about [Kalief] Browder and other things. I’m not attacking Jay Z and I won’t participate until Kaepernick has a job. The issue is Eric Garner. This issue is Tamir Rice. Keep your eyes on the bigger picture.”
Sharpton also asked the crowd to shift their focus to the issues of police brutality and racial inequality. According to reports, 480 people have been killed by police this year. The Washington Post notes at 998 people lost their lives at the hands of a police officer in 2018.
“This ain’t no battle for athletes and superstars, it’s about people being trampled on,” Sharpton continued. “Don’t let them distract you fighting the wrong fight.”
Watch the clip below.
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) August 17, 2019