As the effects of the pandemic and current events continue to plague America, more artists are stepping up to use their platforms for racial and financial equity.
In conjunction with her performance of the Black national anthem at the NFL’s Kickoff event for the 2020 season, singer/songwriter Alicia Keys announced her partnership with the NFL to launch a $1 billion endowment fund for Black businesses and communities, Billboard reports.
According to Billboard, Keys stated that she wants to build off of the progress of the protests from the last few months to raise awareness about social injustice and systematic racism by creating a more tangible solution.
“We are already seeing the blatant injustices that are going on around us,” Keys shared with Billboard. “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.”
Keys also shared that the idea for the new fund was thought of to offer concrete actions to Black communities and businesses that go beyond a one-time donation.
“The initial goal of $1 billion is to ensure a substantial commitment,” she said. “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.”
The national call to help Black businesses across the country has skyrocketed since the uproar of protests in June, and the conversation continues to evolve as more place an emphasis on the importance of contributing to Black dollars.
“There is an urgent conversation that is happening across businesses about the importance of investing in Black America,” Keys told Billboard. “I’m personally committed to holding corporations and institutions accountable, and in my conversations with the NFL, they reaffirmed their commitment to racial equity.”
The NFL has faced a lot of backlash recently for their redirected stance on the Black Lives Matter movement and fighting against racial injustice after cutting ties with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick back in 2016.
The organization just launched its season-long “It Takes All of Us” brand campaign as a means to align themselves with causes that support social justice.
They previously announced a deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation last August to partner together on social justice initiatives through the league’s Inspire Change nonprofit, among other ventures, according to Billboard.
Billboard reports that while additional partners beyond the NFL have yet to be announced, the goal for the initiative is to “create a multi-sector contributor field for the fund.”
Furthermore, the hope for this endowment fund is to not only provide financial resources to Black communities and institutions but also inspire community members to start building generational wealth for the future.
“The prospect of true generational wealth for the Black community is long overdue and I’m grateful to express my purpose as an artist to advance that cause,” Keys said. “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.”