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Jesse Collins becomes the first Black producer of the Super Bowl halftime show

Producer Jesse Collins has worked on many of TV's biggest music moments.
Producer Jesse Collins has worked on many of TV’s biggest music moments.
(The Collins Jackson Agency)

Finally, Jesse Collins is getting the spotlight he’s worked so hard for.

From the Grammy Awards to the BET Awards to CBS’ ”John Lewis: Celebrating a Hero” special, Collins — alongside his Jesse Collins Entertainment production company — has seemingly produced it all.

Now the Emmy nominee is set to become the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show’s first Black executive producer.

“It is an honor to be a part of such an iconic show at such an important time in our history,” Collins said. “I am grateful to Jay-Z, Desiree Perez, the entire Roc Nation family and the NFL for granting me this opportunity.”

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Last August, Roc Nation, Jay-Z’s entertainment and sports company, signed a deal to consult on the show — specifically, live music entertainment and Inspire Change, the NFL’s activism campaign. (Inspire Change focuses on education and economic advancement, police-community relations and criminal justice reform.)

“Jesse Collins is innovative, creative and one of the only executive producers that speak fluent ‘artist vision.’ He‘s a true artist,” Jay-Z said. “Jesse’s insight and understanding create both extraordinary shows and true cultural moments. After working with Jesse for so many years, I look forward to all there is to come.”

In the past, the relationship between Jay-Z and the NFL has raised some questions — and some eyebrows. Critics of the partnership pointed to the fact that the NFL has still not signed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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The rapper had previously shown vocal support for the quarterback’s protest, which left some fans questioning why he would ink a deal with the NFL.

If the resources of the NFL are utilized to improve the lives of minorities, does it really matter if Jay-Z and league are making money on top of it?

Despite past controversies, Collins signing onto the show marks a historic turning point, both for the league and for the producer.

In the past, Collins has helped shape stories about the Black experience in America (both scripted and unscripted), including “The Bobby Brown Story” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood.”

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In June, the producer told IndieWire that he sees a current renaissance in Black art — one that is here to stay.

“This is not some affirmative action type of situation because at the end of the day, we are great storytellers, great actors, actresses, directors,” Collins said. “And we’re creating content that’s reaching audiences previously ignored, and a lot of it is crossing over. So, from a business standpoint, it’s going to make sense, and I think that we might look back at this 20 years from now and say, ‘This was a pivotal moment.’”

As yet, no artists have been signed for the halftime show during the game set for Feb. 7 in Tampa, Fla.


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