A little less than 23 years after Friends debuted on NBC, Jay-Z today released a reimagining of the David Crane- and Marta Kauffman-created series with an all African-American cast. Add to that deft move, his new “Moonlight” music video breaks the fourth wall courtesy of Hannibal Buress and Jerrod Carmichael and makes mentions of Oscar Best Picture fiasco at the 89th Academy Awards – put some exclusivity on that and you have yourself a Friday viral sensation on the 56th birthday of the nation’s first African-American president Barack Obama.
Starring The Carmichael Show lead of the now-canceled NBC show plus castmate and Get Out star Lil Rel Howery and Insecure’s Issa Rae in the roles of Ross, Joey and Rachel, this black Friends video of Jay-Z’s “Moonlight” from his 4:44 alum was directed by Alan Yang. Currently only available on Jay’s music streaming service Tidal, the video also features Emmy nominee Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield, Thor: Ragnarok’s Tessa Thompson and Girls Trip’s Tiffany Haddish as Chandler, Monica and Phoebe.
Dropped today at 4:44 PM ET on Tidal, the video references Friends and nods to Jordan Peele’s horror hit Get Out. However, as the song title itself makes clear, the tune itself has something to say about the mistake at the Oscars in February when La La Land was first announced as the Best Picture winner before it was revealed that Moonlight was the real victor.
The “Moonlight” song says “We got stuck in La La Land” and even snares some of the audio of the big screen’s Moonlight, La La Land and the Best Picture screw-up at the Oscars. “It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going,” the man born Shawn Carter said in a radio interview this afternoon of Moonlight the movie being the real winner of Hollywood’s big night.
That comes along with many a nudge nudge wink wink to the blockbuster comedy’s premise and relationships in a 2017 context – as you can see from the short clip the Master of None co-creator posted online earlier today:
I directed a music video for Jay-Z. It’s called Moonlight. Available on Tidal now and everywhere in a week. pic.twitter.com/UkLfo7g2f2
— Alan Yang (@AlanMYang) August 4, 2017
Drawing on scenes from Friends‘ ‘The One Where No One’s Ready’ episode from September 26, 1996, the video goes in a whole other direction as Carmichael breaks character and asks Buress between scenes what he thinks of the whole “subversive” thing. After the comedian says he thought it was “s**t” and asks if a “black Full House” is net, Carmichael and Rae split the set and stroll through a studio, which is when the 2:24 song actual truly kicks in. The campy and simultaneously droll “Moonlight” video eventually ends with the Transformers: The Last Knight actor sitting on a bench by himself staring up at the stars.
Of course, unless you have Tidal, you won’t have seen much of this.
As Yang notes in his tweet, the ‘Moonlight’ video will be release “everywhere in a week.” So, if you really want to see Moonlight now, then you have to sign up to Tidal. Which is the true bottom line aim of Jay-Z for the service he bought in early 2015 and that Sprint now owns 33% of.
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