He’s a not businessman, he’s a business, man.
The Jaybo trademark will allow JAY-Z’s company, S. Carter Enterprises, to use Jaybo for a wide range of merchandise including T-shirts, hats, mugs, tote bags, bumper stickers, candles, diaper changing mats, pocket watches and more.
One trademark request also gives JAY-Z, 48, the exclusive rights to use Jaybo in films and television series.
“The Story of O.J.”, the first video released off JAY-Z’s 2017 album “4:44,” was released on July 5, one day before the initial trademark requests were filed on July 6.
In the video, Jaybo raps about race relations, gentrification and the importance of investing against the backdrops of cotton fields, a segregated bus and the Brooklyn Bridge.
JAY-Z’s got 99 problems, but a trademark ain’t one.
(Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Sports Illustra)
JAY-Z’s move to trademark Jaybo gives the rap mogul a rare opportunity to reappropriate and profit off a historically racist character.
Jaybo is a play on “Sambo,” which originates from the 1899 children’s book “The Story of Little Black Sambo,” which has widely been derided as racist.
It also affords JAY-Z a new revenue stream after it was reported in December that his music streaming service, Tidal, was losing tens of millions of dollars per year and could run out of cash in months.
“Story of O.J.” is nominated for three Grammy Awards later this month — Record of the Year, Best Rap Song and Best Music Video — in addition to JAY-Z’s five other nominations.
JAY-Z’s eight nominations makes him tied with Stevie Wonder as third most-nominated artist in Grammys history.