Since at least 2017, JAY-Z has been spotted wearing trucker caps with “Ballroom Marfa” written across the front. He joins a host of celebrities who have taken to wearing their hearts on their heads. Kanye West‘s infamous red MAGA hat is the most well-known example, taking top spot from Kristen Stewart and her extensive collection of slogan caps. So what exactly is JAY-Z supporting with these particular pieces of headwear?
Ballroom Marfa is a nonprofit organization in Marfa, Texas. Founded in 2003, the organization explores contemporary issues through visual arts, film, music, and performance at its gallery housed in a converted dancehall. The Ballroom Marfa website states that its mission “is to serve international, national, regional, and local arts communities and support the work of both emerging and recognized artists working in all media.”
Marfa itself has a population of just under 2,000. As well as being home to the world’s most remote Prada store, it’s widely known as an arts hub. Ballroom Marfa aside, the town hosts The Chinati Foundation, founded by artist Donald Judd, and Building 98, an ex-army building that’s now home to an International Woman’s Foundation artist-in-residency project.
JAY-Z and Beyoncé are, of course, immersed in the art world. We reached out to Ballroom Marfa cofounder and artistic director Fairfax Dorn about JAY-Z’s continued support, and she told us that it was Beyoncé who initially discovered her organization.
Their stunning video for “APESHIT,” filmed at the Louvre in Paris, is full of priceless artworks and actually helped set a new record for visitors to the museum. JAY-Z has been referencing artworks in his music since 1996, when he name-dropped Picasso on debut album Reasonable Doubt. He also collaborated with venerated performance artist Marina Abramović in 2013 on the video for “Picasso Baby,” although the artist later spoke out against the rapper.
Beyoncé and JAY-Z own a large art collection and have helped artists gain recognition, including Awol Erizku, the photographer behind those iconic pregnancy photos. Elsewhere, the Carters have also given out multiple scholarships via their respective foundations, the BeyGOOD Initiative and the Shawn Carter Foundation.
So JAY-Z rocking hats from a nonprofit art organization makes perfect sense. You can cop a Ballroom Marfa cap of your own for $15 here, available in a variety of colors.