Last week, Jay-Z released the music video for his new song “Moonlight”, but the video was only available for Tidal subscribers. The video has now been released to YouTube, and you should definitely take six minutes out of your day to watch it.
The hook of the video is that they’re doing Friends (specifically, the classic episode “The One Where No One’s Ready”) but with black actors. Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show) is Ross, Issa Rae (Insecure) is Rachel, Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip) is Phoebe, LilRey Howery (Get Out) is Joey, Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) is Chandler, and Tessa Thompson (Creed) is Monica. It starts off as a beat-for-beat reenactment but then slowly evolves to become a biting critique of black and white entertainment.
I love Friends, but its ingenious to use it as a platform for its critique because it’s a show that, for the majority of its run, pushed black performers away despite being set in New York City. A brief arc involving a character played by Aisha Tyler aside, Friends was a white show about white characters, and while at first blush you may look at the video for “Moonlight” and think, “I love all these actors and they’re all doing a show I love!”, this video, directed by Master of None co-creator Alan Yang, turns into a sharp critique of how white entertainment becomes set as the “default” rather than recognizing the outstanding work of black performers. It wasn’t an accident that the actors featured here are all doing incredible work on their own.
It’s sly, subversive, and absolutely worth your time. Check out the video below, which also includes Hannibal Buress, and become fans of everyone involved with the making of this music video. It’s one of the best ones you’ll see this year.
“Moonlight” is available off Jay-Z’s new album, 4:44, which is now available to own.