It was announced last week that Usher will be headlining 2024’s Super Bowl halftime show.

To the delight certainly of many Black folks, it’ll be another halftime performance that we can step with. Usher undoubtedly has joints that move the people while fitting the Super Bowl’s festive environment. But there is also a very specific reason we’re getting Usher next year. There’s a specific reason why we were also able to enjoy Rihanna last year, along with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent the year before that.

In short, we can thank the crumble-proof Roc Nation for making it happen. In 2020, Roc Nation struck a deal with the NFL for the company to have more say-so over halftime entertainment among other things. In addition, it also helped give Roc Nation an opportunity to have influence in the NFL’s Inspire Change initiative.

JAY-Z and Roc Nation found this opportunity to be integral to this deal, especially in the wake of Colin Kaepernick’s protest debacle. And not to mention, the ongoing civil unrest in this country, which was especially heightened in 2020.

We have seen some of the fruits of the rapper-turned-mogul’s partnership by way of the entertainment value during NFL special events. The artists being tapped to perform are more contemporary than in the past. For the record, we should be excited about Usher performing at the upcoming Super Bowl. I really just wanted to use this time to keep us all mindful that this Roc Nation deal is two-fold. They have made a commitment to be more involved in the community. And I don’t think it hurts for us to build on how our people have come together in recent years, as well.

That brings us to Inspire Change and its mission. They seek to promote healthier interactions between the police and our communities. They also seek to help fund initiatives that promote educational programming in our communities. The average person may not be affiliated with said programs, but we can all do our own parts to help push us forward. It can be as simple as the conversations that we have with one another.

For instance, are we giving each other game on the political process? Are we hip to all the chicanery that precedes election days? There’s so much that goes on. And because politics can be so murky, a lot of us disengage from the process. But if we got behind even lesser-known people who we felt had our best interests at heart, I think we’d see more tangible positive changes. Challenging a Black person with questions like that can really help the legislative decisions that are made locally.

We should be making ourselves more available to those who are coming up. It could be as simple as putting a youngster on to the music of your time. So many conversations can stem from these interactions. It can help shape one’s thought process, and that’s priceless.

So, just remember, every year, as we get excited about the Super Bowl halftime show’s next act, our antennas should be up, too. I don’t want us to be so jaded by enjoying these great halftime shows that we forget the origins of it actually happening. This stemmed from civil unrest as a result of a silent protest against police brutality in this country. Let’s make sure that the NFL is doing what it said it would in regard to its work in Black communities. Let’s not let them off the hook while we consume the product. The concerts are cool, but the “shield” being about their word? That’s where the money really is.