Mo Ivory: My Open Letter To Jay-Z
Dear Shawn Carter,
Can’t seem to stay out the news lately, huh?
A trip to Cuba with arguably the most popular female artist of the moment – your wife, Beyonce. A fiery, musical retort to the critics of that five-year anniversary trip, titled “Open Letter.” A nod by none other than Time Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential.
And up next, certified sports agent?
Not so fast, Mr. Seemingly Unstoppable Mogul.
There’s that college degree that you don’t have. But I have the answer: GO BACK TO COLLEGE AND START AN EDUCATION MOVEMENT!
When I heard that in order to become a certified agent with the NFL, applicants not only have to have a college degree, but a post-graduate degree, I was surprised. But as I thought about it, it made sense.
As an agent, you are negotiating multi-million dollar deals and endorsements, therefore business and negotiation skills are a must. And obviously as a multi-million-selling artist who’s not only secured endorsement deals for yourself and others, but run record labels and a talent agency, you have demonstrated such skills.
So, when it comes to you, I think the NFL Players Association should waive the requirement for the post-graduate degree since you meet the standard of having “substantial negotiating experience”. This is in within their bylaws to do.
But what about the college degree? That’s a requirement the NFLPA cannot waive for practical experience.
Jay-Z, you have a real teachable moment here to be an example for millions if not billions of people. A moment of real influence even Mayor Bloomberg may not have imagined when he penned the essay about you in Time. You can use your enormous celebrity to change lives. You, multi-hyphenate you, can check yet another category you have never been in before: College graduate.
Start a movement Jay!
Imagine what that would do for our community.
Imagine how inspired black kids would become to get their education. Any kids.
Imagine how many adults you could inspire to go back and get their degrees.
Imagine the movement you could start to make getting a college degree cool.
Imagine walking across the stage to get your degree and throwing the Roc sign AND the Roc-Nation designed graduation cap in the air.
Imagine telling Blue Ivy the story when she grows up.
It won’t be that hard. Many colleges would be glad to have you. You could start this August 2013!
You can do it online, so it doesn’t affect your upcoming tour schedule or other prior commitments. You can get help from tutors and your college counselor and maybe even finish in less time than it usually takes. The effortless way you spit out lyrics you could write papers. You’re brilliant – this is not going to be hard for you.
And when you go to college, you should do it big – like you always do. Encourage other entertainers to get or finish their degrees. Make an album about the experience, write a book and then make it into a movie: “The Education of Shawn Carter.”
Start a college apparel line called Roc Nation College, complete with freshly-designed backpacks, book covers and everything a college student needs. Keep the line open from the day you start college to the day you graduate. It will be a collector’s item.
I know you have a ton of people that would be willing to help. And just in case you need one more, I’m really smart and I will help too. I’m good at college applications and personal statements and getting recommendations letters for your package.
Please give this some thought. You have the power to change generations and gain the benefits a college education provides.
I work at CBS Radio Atlanta. Call me if you want to talk about this. Just ask for Mo.
Looking forward to speaking with you soon.