Alicia Keys has joined forces with the NFL to launch a $1 billion endowment fund which is focused on supporting Black-owned businesses and communities. That are affected by the global coronavirus pandemic and recent protests.
The ‘Love Looks Better” singer took the socially-distanced stage on Thursday, Sept. 10 to kick off the 2020 NFL season. Keys performed multiple songs including her 2007 hit, “No One.” As well as a moving rendition of “Lift Every Voice And Sing” which was accompanied by narration from Marvel star Anthony Mackie.
The singer followed it up with a powerful performance of her new song “Love Looks Better.” Alicia looked every bit a vision decked in a sparkling blue denim jacket and high-heeled Timbs as she belted out the song with graphics supporting the Black community on the screen behind her. The song ended as the screen flashed the word “Vote.”
The “Fallin’” singer tied up her stellar performances with a big announcement benefiting Black-owned businesses. The NFL will be contributing to a new $1 billion endowment fund aimed at supporting Black businesses as well as communities.
“This fund is one of the answers and our goal is to empower Black America”
The new fund comes as several crises unfold around the world. Including the global coronavirus pandemic as well as the protests against systemic racism and police brutality following the police killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and others in recent months.
Speaking more about her latest initiative, the 39-year-old singer-songwriter said, “We are already seeing the blatant injustices that are going on around us. As an artist, I’m always thinking about how can I use my platform to further racial equity. This fund is one of the answers and our goal is to empower Black America. Through investing in Black businesses, Black investors, institutions, entrepreneurs, schools and banks in a way to create sustainable solutions,” said Keys.
She continued talking about their plans, saying “The initial goal of $1 billion is to ensure a substantial commitment,” revealed the singer. “Even with that it does not come close to closing the economic gap. The next steps are to reach out to different industries to invite them to invest in racial justice. And create a multi-billion dollar endowment across business sectors.”
NFL and Colin Kaepernick
In the letter, Alicia penned explaining her involvement with the NFL and the fund, writing, “Today, I will be doing something I never thought I would do again. I’m performing for the NFL Kickoff event. My initial reaction was to decline because of some of the NFL’s past decisions. Yet I realized I HAVE to use my platform. We all need to use our platforms, every chance we get to press for racial equity.”
The singer is referring to The NFL’s actions towards quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. In recent years, the NFL has come under increasing scrutiny over it’s four-year conflict with Colin Kaepernick. Whose professional career was sidelined after he started taking a knee during the National Anthem in silent protest against police brutality and racial injustice.
The sportsman was shunned and found himself without a team. He hasn’t been signed to a professional football team since he left the 49ers in 2017. In 2016, he filed a grievance against the league, accusing owners of conspiring to keep him out of the NFL. Kaepernick and Eric Reid, who also took a knee to join Colin, reached a confidential settlement with the NFL in their collusion case against the league in February of 2019.
“I’m personally committed to holding corporations and institutions accountable”
The league, who is still continuing to try and right its wrongs have confirmed their involvement in the fund. “I’m personally committed to holding corporations and institutions accountable. And in my conversations with the NFL, they reaffirmed their commitment to racial equity,” said the singer. “The prospect of true generational wealth for the Black community is long overdue,” said the singer who feels grateful to express her purpose to advance that cause. “I’ve been deeply inspired by the courage of Colin Kaepernick and the determination I have to see this through is meant to honor his commitment to social justice.”
The singer continued emphasizing the importance of change, saying, “With collective action and the truth as our guide, a new future is within our grasp. The time is now for building the America we want and desperately need.” Keys who maintains an optimistic mindset believes that if people, “take action and operate with a sense of urgency,” we can, “renew America and finally put an end to the false notion of racial hierarchy.”
She concluded saying, “Moving forward we must act together with love over hate, hope over fear and action over complacency to build the America we all know is possible.”