Apple's Beats supports Kaepernick in pulsating new ad

Commentary: Serena Williams, Neymar, Kris Wu and Michael K. Williams star in the ad that suggests you should listen to no one but yourself.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

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An unseen presence.

Beats/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

How many times a day do people tell you that you're wrong? How many times do you get bullied, one way or another, and told to back off?

A new ad from Apple-owned Beats, narrated by Michael K. Williams, tells you not to listen. To anyone. 

Interspersing the tales of tennis great Serena Williams, actor and singer Kris Wu, actor Michael K. Williams and soccer star Neymar, the ad suggests that to succeed you have to shut off your ears to conquer your fears.

Trolls will call you weird. But if you believe in your talents, then focus on those and rise above the noise.

It's a powerful statement. One that will upset some -- including, perhaps, the president -- as it features neither the face nor the voice, but the shirt and the fight of Colin Kaepernick.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, currently without a team, has filed a collusion grievance against the NFL. He believes that the owners have blackballed him because he began to protest the treatment of black people by authorities in a simple way -- he first sat and then knelt during the National Anthem at games.

Here, Beats is holding him up as another example of someone who tries to rise above the noise, in order to achieve the aims in which he believes.

Kaepernick is so above the noise that he doesn't appear in the ad. Instead, a young black kid wears his shirt and stands up to the (literal) storm. 

It's a powerful image.  

Of course, Kaepernick has a history with Beats. He once said he was fined $100,000 for wearing the headphones instead of those of Bose, which happened to be an NFL sponsor. Now, though, he faces altogether a different kind of hissing sound.

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