Jay Z has filed documents to trademark the lead character from his "The Story of O.J." video.
S. Carter Enterprises, Jay Z's company, is reportedly planning to put the animated character on merchandise like "T-shirts, sweaters, hats, blankets, shams, dinnerware, mugs, cocktail shakers and thermal containers," according to TMZ.
"The Story of O.J." was the first music video released from the 48-year-old rapper's latest album 4:44, direct by Mark Romanek and Jay. The main character Jaybo, in this completely animated video, is seen eating watermelon, climbing stairs of cash, and coming to an untimely end. The song samples the legendary Nina Simone singing, "My skin is black."
Jaybo is a play on the famous racist Sambo cartoon from the 1899 children's book The Story of Little Black Sambo. The song references stereotypes and racism, and Jay Z has previously spoken out to insist that the song is about planning for the future and seeing the big picture. Trademarking Jaybo could be a step towards reclaiming Sambo.
In a 2017 interview with iHeartRadio, Jay Z explained, "'The Story of OJ' is really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we're gonna push this forward. We all make money, and then we all lose money, as artists especially. But how, when you have some type of success, to transform that into something bigger."
Jay Z released new content for the video after its release. The song itself received mixed reviews, from being named one of the best songs and videos of 2017 to accusations of being antisemitic, which inspired Madonna's manager Guy Oseary to come to his defense on Instagram.
Jay Z is not the only one working on a major trademark. Travis Scott recently tried to trademark his Cactus Jack alias, a move that the WWE tried to block because of Mick Foley's popular Cactus Jack alias.