Days before Tampa’s Super Bowl 55, Ben & Jerry’s debuted a new billboard and mural featuring civil rights leader and former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sacrificed his NFL career to point out the fact that Black men are disproportionately killed by police.
Earlier this week, the socially-conscious ice cream giant shared a photo of the billboard, which shows Kaepernick holding up a fist and promoting the company’s latest pun-filled flavor, “Change the Whirled.” The billboard is located along Dale Mabry near I-275.
A few days later, the company also announced a new 30-foot-by-90-foot mural on the corner of Albany Street and Moses White Boulevard in Old West Tampa, featuring local kids wearing T-shirts with phrases like “Power to the People” and “I Know My Rights,” and an image of Kaepernick.
Both the mural and the billboard were designed by New Orleans-based artist Brandan “BMike” Odums.
To commemorate the new artwork at noon on Super Bowl Sunday, Ben and Jerry’s and Kaerpernick’s Know Your Rights Camp foundation will offer a “free, COVID-safe community drive-thru” at the site of the mural, where fans can pick up family-sized meals, a pint of Kaepernick’s Change the Whirled dessert, as well as “gift certificates to a local salon and barbershop (while supplies last).”
Ben & Jerry’s also said they will be donating $5,000 to four Tampa community groups for their work in the areas of “power-building, educational equity, and affordable housing.” The company did not specify which groups will receive the funding.
“As we look back, it’s clear that Colin was on the right side of history,” said Chris Miller, who heads the company’s global activism department. “His pre-game protests were before George Floyd’s murder, before the 2020 summer of racial reckoning. He knew a long time ago that we need to address the root causes of racism and the structures of our society that are so brutal to Black people. We wanted to be part of the effort to honor Colin’s courage and legacy because we share the same values.”
Ben & Jerry’s decision to make Kaepernick such a large presence at Tampa’s Super Bowl 55, is in stark contrast to the NFL. The league’s NFL Experience in downtown Tampa has zero reference to Kap, who, whether you agreed with him or not, was arguably the most influential athlete of the past decade.
Here at the the NFL Experience opening Friday at Julian B. Lane. Definitely looks like a good time, but notably absent from the chronology of pro football and social justice literature is any mention of @Kaepernick7 who literally lost his job over speaking up. pic.twitter.com/ME27hOjjFU— Ray Roa (@rayroa) January 28, 2021
Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.