Jay Z and Pharrell have collaborated for the first time in a decade with their ‘Entrepreneur’ single. It celebrates Black entrepreneurs.
The song’s video is a showcase of celebrated African-American figures. One example is Ty Anthony Davis, who battled below-standard test scores and since formed Vox Collegiate Junior High School. The college aims to help students succeed differently in life, with lessons like skateboarding and dance classes that can help students build a personal brand.
More prominent names such as rapper Tyler, The Creator and filmmaker Issa Rae also feature in the music video. There’s also a moment of silence for the late Nipsey Hussle, who passed away last year. Pharrell links together their stories.
“The intention for a song was all about how tough it is to be an entrepreneur in our country to begin with,” Williams told Variety. “Especially as someone of colour, there’s a lot of systemic disadvantages and purposeful blockages. How can you get a fire started, or even the hope of an ember to start a fire, when you’re starting at disadvantages with regards to health care, education, and representation?”
It’s certainly a timely release, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests. In expressing solidarity for the movement, Jay Z points out the importance of supporting businesses started by people of colour. “Black Twitter, what’s that? When Jack gets paid, do you?,” he raps, referencing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. “For every one Gucci, support two FUBU’s,” referencing the “For Us, By Us” clothing line.
‘Entrepeneur’ is released alongside Williams’ Time Magazine package: ‘The New American Revolution’, featuring conversations with prominent figures such as Angela Davis, Tyler the Creator, Naomi Osaka and Geoffrey Canada.
Time adds that the magazine issue will explore “the systemic inequalities that Black people have faced throughout United States’ history, and how a more equitable future might be achieved across policy, medicine, culture, sports and education.”
There’s definitely an empire state of mind at play.