Jay-Z & Roc Nation Release Ad Defending Romelu Lukaku After Fans’ Racist Chants
Roc Nation, an entertainment agency run by rapper and record producer Jay-Z, took out a full-page ad in La Grazetta Sport, an Italian publication, to criticize local fans for making monkey noises to criticize Inter Milan player Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku, a Belgian of Congolese descent, is a Roc Nation client and was the first Premier League player to sign with the agency in 2018.
— Roc Nation Sports International (@RocNationSI) April 6, 2023
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The incident which incited the ad occurred Tuesday during a game between Inter Milan and Juventus, when Lukaku scored a game-tying goal in stoppage time to force a draw in the Italian Cup semifinal. Fans in attendance made monkey noises following the goal.
“In professional football, Black players have been subjected to hatred during professional football games,” the ad stated. “The hated has displayed itself in the form of monkey chants, racial slurs and banana peels tossed at the best players in the world, as the world watches, as the children watch, as the players’ families watch.”
The most recent incident in European soccer follows a long string of racist attacks on players in the sport’s history. In 2020, three black players on England’s national team received racist abuse online for making errors in the final of the European Championship.
This is not the first time that Lukaku has endured racially charged abuse, as Italian fans have used similar monkey chants throughout his career, notably in a 2019 incident, which received similar condemnation from league officials.
“History repeats. Been through it in 2019 … and 2023 again … I hope the league really take actions for real this time because this beautiful game should be enjoyed by everyone,” Lukaku said on Instagram.
Roc Nation’s ad was an attempt by the agency to speak directly to fans in defense of its client, who has played for Inter Milan in two stints since 2019.
“In a game that unites people all over the world as fans, we should only witness the best of humanity,” the ad read. “There is no circumstances where racism is tolerated. Italy is better than this. We are all better than this.”
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