(The more serious criticism of Jay-Z is whether he's fronted for developer Bruce Ratner, suggesting he's fulfilled promises about jobs, as I wrote for Salon last year.)
"Tonight, we got a lot of motherfuckers in the house, tonight," Jay-Z says in the video below. "Tonight we are in the midst of a historic time in Brooklyn, New York City. We finally got our own franchise."
The crowd roars, apparently identifying borough residency with the capitalistic success of Ratner and Mikhail Prokhorov. (Though I know many disagree, the term "we" strikes me as most appropriate in the rare case when the team is owned by a cross-section of the community, such as the Green Bay Packers.)
The Dodgers reference
"I don't think it's a coincidence that the Dodgers wanted to play on this very site, this very site," Jay-Z continued. "They were going to build on this very land."
That's not true. They wanted to build across the street, at the site of what is now Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Center mall.
"How far we've come"
"I don't think it's a coincidence that Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play baseball, and he was Brooklyn's own," Jay-Z stated. "And now we're standing here today, and I'm part of this Nets franchise. I don't think it's a coincidence. I'm looking out here right now to see how far we've come."
It's not a coincidence because Bruce Ratner was a smart (and lucky) businessman who thought Jay-Z could help him with street cred--and then Mr. Carter exploded into an even bigger star.
“We still got a long way to go because everybody wanna diminish your accomplishment,” Jay-Z continued. “When I look at the paper and I see them talking, ‘Eh, he owns one-fifteenth.’ First of all, I don’t know where they get that number from. But I’m cool with it. I know it’s not about me, it’s about y’all. What I mean by that is it’s not personal to me. They know that if you see me standing here that you know it’s possible to achieve great things, and I know a lot of y'all are ready to achieve great things…Don’t let anybody diminish your accomplishments. It’s our motherfucking time now.”
Who's us: the fans? Prokhorov? Ratner?
The middle finger in the air
"So I need every single person to put their middle finger up in the air for the people that's trying to hold them back," Jay-Z closed. "We're just gonna tell them this, tonight."
He then segued into “99 Problems.”