Jay-Z is trademarking his "Story Of OJ" character.
Not only was Jay-Z's 4:44 one of 2017's strongest albums, but it also contained one of the year's most important meditations on race in "The Story Of O.J." While the lyrics were powerful in their own regard, the concept was truly enhanced by the now-iconic video, which found Jay-Z re-imagined as a caricature from archaic, racially insensitive animation. The character, named Jaybo, wears his influences on his sleeve, and has been widely praised as a successful reclamation of a hurtful past. And as we know, Jay-Z is not a businessman, he's a business...man. Suffice it to say, if he sees a lucrative opportunity, he'll take it.
Today, TMZ has reported that the Jigga Man is making moves to Trademark the "Jaybo" character. His company, S. Carter Enterprises, plans on putting the character everywhere, on products ranging from shirts, sweaters, blankets, hats, dinnerware, mugs, shams, and more. They've clearly got big plans for Jay-Z's perpetually unfazed character, who drops knowledge throughout "The Story Of OJ" with lackadaisical swagger. And while the character does have an undeniable power, it does beg the question of targeted demographics.
For some context, "Jaybo" is essentially a remix of the 1899 character Sambo, from the controversial children's book The Story Of Little Black Sambo, which featured some seriously racist illustrations. Suffice it to say, race relations in 1899 weren't great. Despite the sordid history behind the character, it's still cool to see Jay making moves to reclaim a formerly derogatory character. Another money move from Sean Carter.