Jermaine Dupri Will Use His Superbowl Event To Address Social Injustice
Cardi B, Travis Scott and Rihanna are some of the huge entertainers who have been vocal about their personal decisions to either contribute to the entertainment portion of the upcoming Superbowl or pledge their solidarity and support to Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest against racial profiling and police brutality. Producer Jermaine Dupri, however, is attempting to use the Superbowl to bring awareness to these issues in his own way.
Billboard reports that after being called a “sellout” for hosting a Super Bowl-related event with people who have lost loved ones to police brutality, the So So Def CEO plans to give them a platform to speak onstage at his Superbowl Live Event in Atlanta. He hopes the effort will bridge the gap between those who are protesting the NFL’s lack of support for Kaepernick’s protest and his own obligation to accommodate the NFL during his five-night concert series.
Dupri met much criticism after he partnered with the Super Bowl host committee to produce a series of free concerts at Centennial Olympic Park, located a couple of blocks from where Super Bowl 53 will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Many felt the move was a slap in the face to a city which many consider to be the birthplace of civil rights and wanted to boycott the Superbowl and the concert series.
Dupri however feels partnering with the Superbowl may be away to give the silent protest against racial inequality the attention it deserves:
“I met with the families and parents who have been killed and murdered by police officers here.”
“I plan on having them come to my Super Bowl Live event and speak to the crowd and tell their story about police brutality in the city and let people understand that I’m supporting them as much as possible.”
Maroon,5, Big Boi and Travis Scott are scheduled to perform at the half-time show and legendary soul singer, Gladys Knight will be performing the national anthem. Travis Scott was one of the more recent artists to be heavily criticized, after he agreed to perform only if the NFL joined him to make a donation to an organization fighting social injustice. The NFL and Scott gave $500,000 to the Van Jones’ Dream Corps, which works on criminal justice reform and expands opportunities for diversity in technology, environmental issues and education. However, artists still weren’t supportive of his agreement to perform. Dupri believes Scott’s move was a step in the right direction:
“If he did something to bring attention to police brutality or injustice, I think that’s a step forward in the fight that everybody seems to want to talk about.”
“If we were to completely turn our head to what’s happening Super Bowl weekend and have nothing to do with it, and stand with Kaepernick and completely boycott, what about our love and our craft that we care so much about?”
“It’s a rough situation, because you want to support both sides.”
A few of the family members of victims of police brutality were hesitant to attend his event this weekend due to the controversy, but Dupri maintains the shows will go on and be more about spreading awareness than anything else:
“I want to bring awareness to the situation and let people to know that we’re not out here partying and not caring about their situation.”
“They told me that they didn’t want to come to my show. They’re pretty much boycotting the Super Bowl. We had a meeting and came to an understanding. I want them to have a platform to speak.”