UPDATED: Travis Scott today announced that in partnership with the National Football League, he will make a $500,000 donation to the non-profit organization Dream Corps, among “other initiatives that he will work with the League on.” The move is clearly designed to counter criticism over his appearance at the Super Bowl halftime show with Maroon 5 — which was finally confirmed, after weeks of speculation, precisely 30 minutes after Scott announced the donation on Sunday. Sources tell Variety that Black Lives Matter and other nonprofits may be receiving donations as well, although reps for those organizations either said they had not heard from Scott’s team or did not respond to requests for comment.
Both acts, particularly Scott, have come under fierce criticism in recent weeks because performing during the game — which is the biggest global stage for a musician, with an estimated 100 million viewers —is effectively an endorsement of the NFL’s treatment of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The league’s stance toward the athlete, who has not played professionally since his controversial stance to “take a knee” during the National Anthem before games, has polarized audiences and significantly complicated this year’s halftime performance, among many other issues. Sources tell Variety that Maroon 5 spent weeks trying to confirm an act of color to perform with them.
Scott nodded to this situation in a statement announcing the donation. “I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” he said. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”
Dream Corps, founded by founded by CNN commentator Van Jones in 2014, has a broadly defined mission “to help cutting-edge initiatives grow big enough to impact millions of lives. Our slogan is ‘21st-century jobs, not jails.’ We support economic, environmental and criminal justice innovators – all under one roof. Our shared platform helps leaders create synergies, leapfrog obstacles and maximize impact. Every day, we are reshaping “what’s possible” in the field of social justice.”