Jay-Z and Beyonce are more than just a power couple. They are powerful individuals who have a massive influence on their loyal fanbases. Their influence has been able to sway many a movement in the past and continues to as they continue on in their various concerted philanthropic efforts. However, there are those that feel that are always hyper critical of the Carter family.
Motivational Speaker and psychologist Dr. Umar Johnson is known to be vocal about many things, withholding nothing. So it would perhaps come as no surprise that Johnson gave his unpopular opinion concerning Jay-Z and Beyonce’s status and doings in the world. While speaking with VLAD TV in 2016, Johnson made points that both music and athletic contributions from African-Americans are the “foundation of American corporate power,” which led him to state that the Brooklyn-born rapper wields more power than the public believes.
It is Dr. Johnson’s belief that the 4:44 rapper could currently achieve more than influential historical figures of the past. “If Jay-Z wanted to, he could probably do more today than a Dr. King and a Malcolm did 40 years ago,” Johnson expressed. His reason for this belief is that the rapper has amassed incredible influence over the public along with the “position”, and “most of all, the money.”
“Malcolm had to get his money,” Johnson continued. “King had to get his money. The honorable Marcus “Messiah” Garvey had to get his money. The honorable Elijah Muhammed had to get his money. Jay got his money.” Johnson further expressed his belief that Jay-Z and his wife have the ability to “start a revolution” if they wanted to. But Johnson poses a question to the Carters, and other artists in their position. “Are you willing to pay the sacrifice that must be paid in order to push Black America forward,” he asks.
“Anyone who has helped push us forward had to pay a sacrifice,” he adds. “Whether it was jail, whether it’s reputation, whether it’s employment. Whether it was their lives. But freedom is not free. It cannot be voted away. It cannot be prayed away. It cannot be negotiated away. Okay? It has to be fought. And not just physically. Economics is a form of war. Propoganda is a form of war. Finance is a form of war. But many of our athletes and entertainers are so comfortable [that] they’re not willing to risk that.”
To be fair, Jay-Z and Beyonce have been known to do much for the Black community. While they may not be highly vocal in their efforts, the usually private couple has produced concerted efforts in pushing the conversation forward. Their social justice efforts have been lauded and criticized by many. Beyonce has been known to rep the culture, especially as of late, from her Super Bowl performance to her headlining Coachella set. The “Drunk In Love” singer has also been known to donate large sums of monies to various HBCUs and highlight Black businesses throughout the years.
In 2019, it was announced that Jay-Z and his company, RocNation, entered a partnership with the NFL in the middle of racial tensions surrounding the league. Their collaboration allowed Jay to help “advise on selecting artists for major NFL performances like the Super Bowl” while assisting in their initiatives to move the needle on race and social justice issues. Unfortunately, this move would bring backlash from the public, who felt Jay-Z had become a sellout.
However, their attempts over the years may have others questioning their motives, but it appears Dr. Umar Johnson might have changed his tune. In a December 2019 with The Breakfast Club, Johnson defended the couple’s achievements in the social justice realm against the detractors. As a matter of fact, he told many who came to him to speak on the subject to “back off.”
With that, he began to list instances where Jay-Z stepped up for social justice causes, such as helping out in protests around the nation and paying for folks to be released from imprisonment. He also brings up the documentaries that educated people on the Kalief Browder and Trayvon Martin incident that was produced by Jay-Z and his famous turning down of the Super Bowl. He also touched on Beyonce’s many accomplishments for the Black community as well. “As far as I’m concerned, can’t nobody come to me about Jay-Z and Beyonce because did they do everything? No. But they did enough to let me know ‘I care.’ And because of that, I’m going to give that brother some wiggle room before I judge him,” stated Dr. Johnson.