A week after co-headlining his own Made In America Festival, Jay-Z returned to New York—albeit Queens and not his native Brooklyn—to perform headlining duties at the Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field Friday night.
While the 90-minute set featured “Izzo (H.O.V.A.),” “Where I’m From,” and new 4:44 fare such as “Family Feud,” one particular track gave Jay an opportunity to offer a quick opinion on current events in the sports and political sphere.
“I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight,” Jay-Z said before launching into “The Story of O.J.” Hov also dedicated the song to the late comedian Dick Gregory, who passed in August, as well as “anyone that was held back and you overcame.”
The song takes its title—at least in part—to former NFL great O.J. Simpson, whose seemingly lifelong struggles with identity politics and code switching get a reference in the track’s opening bars courtesy of an anecdote from ESPN’s O.J.: Made In America.
Kaepernick remains unsigned and doesn’t appear likely to wind up on an NFL roster this season, after sitting and subsequently kneeling in protest during the singing of the national anthem as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016. Players such as Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers have gone on record as saying Kaepernick is being passed on in favor of players with inferior statistics and talent because of his protest.
Despite not being on an active NFL roster this season, the NFL Player’s Association awarded Kaepernick the “Community MVP” designation for his charitable work.