NEW YORK — Jay-Z performed his first headlining concert in three years in his hometown of New York City on Friday, a show that featured his popular hits and a dedication to outspoken NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
The Brooklyn rapper kicked off the first of three days of the Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field in Queens, performing a 90-minute set that included his well-known songs as well as political moments.
“I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight,” Jay-Z said before performing “The Story of O.J.,” a song from his new album, “4:44,” that is about blackness and managing money and also references O.J. Simpson.
Jay-Z also dedicated the song to Dick Gregory, the late comedian and activist who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health. Gregory died last month.
“I want to dedicate this song to anyone that was held back and you overcame,” Jay-Z said.
Kaepernick became a polarizing figure among NFL fans for his decision to sit, and then kneel, during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality. Several players followed Kaepernick’s actions last season, and many are doing so this season as well.
A free-agent quarterback, Kaepernick remains unsigned after terminating his contract with the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year. Supporters say he is being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.