The NFL announced Thursday that it is partnering with Contract with Black America Institute, an economic-inclusion initiative created by Ice Cube, reports ESPN.
Ice Cube, along with his longtime business partner and entertainment lawyer Jeff Kwatinetz, and advisers Ja'Ron Smith and Chris Pilkerton first launched this initiative in 2020. Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, worked with the rapper/actor to present the idea to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
According to the report, the partnership with Ice Cube's CWBA will focus on “identifying league-wide opportunities in the financial, tech and production sectors, with a concentration on increasing direct and indirect spending to national Black businesses to help close America's racial and economic wealth gap.”
"It was cool connecting with somebody like Troy Vincent and really delivering our plan," Ice Cube said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. "Roger Goodell jumped in with both feet saying, 'Hey, we got to get this done. We have to make this happen.'"
"We feel like if you tackle the huge wealth gap between Black people and white people in this country, that should solve a lot of problems that's there," added Ice Cube. "Our thing was to go after some of the biggest companies in the country that rely on Black consumers or Black workers, and the biggest one that we focused in on was the NFL."
In an effort to increase economic equity, the NFL has invested and earmarked $125 million with Black companies including Ariel Investments, City First/Broadway Bank, Cover Communications and Fearless Technology over the past year.
In a statement, Goodell expressed his excitement about the league’s new partnership.
"Our partnership with CWBA is another reminder that partnering with intentional organizations is critical to everything we do at the league," his statement read. "Black businesses play a major role in our country's economic prosperity. We understand these businesses have not always had the opportunity for exponential growth, so we are pleased to have partners like Ice Cube and his organization, CWBA, in a continued, collective push toward greater economic inclusion."
Ice Cube also noted he plans to forge similar partnerships with other professional sports leagues and major corporations.
"I'm glad the NFL stepped up," he said. "They're the biggest and most powerful and most influential to other Fortune 500 companies. So we want to get them to lead the charge. They've already allocated and spent up to $125 million. So we want that to turn into $500 million, maybe a billion, and then move on to other leagues and hopefully other companies like Nike and the big boys and tell them to try to adopt the same thing."