NFL, Ice Cube team up for economic-equity initiative for Black-owned businesses

The NFL partners with Ice Cube.

The league announced Thursday that it is working with Contract with Black America Institute, an economic inclusion-focused initiative led by artist and entrepreneur O’Shea Jackson, known as Ice Cube.

“We feel that if you address the huge wealth gap between blacks and whites in this country, a lot of problems should be solved,” Ice Cube said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “Our thing was to go after some of the biggest companies in the country that depend on black consumers or black workers, and the biggest thing we focused on was the NFL.”

The NFL has worked to increase economic equity and partnerships with black-owned businesses. The partnership with Ice Cube’s CWBA will focus on identifying league-wide opportunities in finance, technology and manufacturing, with a focus on increasing direct and indirect spending on national Black businesses to help advance America’s racial and to close the economic prosperity gap.

Ice Cube, his longtime business partner and entertainment attorney Jeff Kwatinetz, and consultants Ja’Ron Smith and Chris Pilkerton launched this initiative in 2020. They worked with Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, and pitched the idea to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“It was cool to work with someone like Troy Vincent and actually execute our plan,” said Ice Cube. “Roger Goodell jumped in with both feet and said, ‘Hey, we gotta get this done. We gotta get this done.'”

In the last year, the NFL has already spent $125 million and committed it to black-owned companies like Ariel Investments, CityFirst/Broadway Bank, Cover Communications and Fearless Technology.

“Our partnership with CWBA is another reminder that partnering with intentional organizations is critical to everything we do in the league,” Goodell said in a statement. “Black businesses play an important role in the economic prosperity of our country. We understand that these companies have not always had the opportunity for exponential growth, so we are pleased to have partners like Ice Cube and its organization, CWBA, in an ongoing, collaborative push towards greater economic inclusion.”

Ice Cube said his group plans to pursue similar opportunities with other sports leagues and big companies.

“I’m glad the NFL has risen,” he said. “They are the biggest and the most powerful and the most influential to other Fortune 500 companies. So let’s get them to lead the prosecution. They have already allocated and spent up to $125 million. So we want that to change $500 million, maybe a billion, and then move to other leagues and hopefully other companies like Nike and the big boys and tell them to try and do the same thing. NFL, Ice Cube team up for economic-equity initiative for Black-owned businesses

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