Jay-Z Makes A Statement & Remakes Friends With “Moonlight” Video

Photo: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images.
On Friday, Jay-Z dropped a video for “Moonlight,” the latest single from his critically acclaimed album, 4:44. Never mind this video being new. You’ve seen it somewhere before.
In the premise, director Alan Yang recasts the popular ‘90s sitcom, Friends with an all-black cast. Issa Rae of Insecure is Rachel, Tiffany Haddish of Girls Trip is Phoebe, and Tessa Thompson of Creed is Monica. Actor Jerrod Carmichael plays a very paranoid Ross, while Lakeith Stanfield and Lil Rel of Get Out play Chandler and Joey. It’s a virtual who’s who in comedy.
The video specifically reimagines the iconic episode, "The One Where No One’s Ready,” where we see each of the characters in their purest form.
As the title suggests, “Moonlight” alludes to the best-picture fiasco at this year’s Oscars, when La La Land was mistakenly and momentarily given the award instead of the real winner, the Barry Jenkins-directed Moonlight.
“The hook is ‘We stuck in La La Land/Even if we win, we gonna lose,” said Jay-Z to Genius about the track. “It’s like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight. It’s really a commentary on the culture and where we’re going.”
Despite our often romanticised view of the ‘90s, the era, like so many before it, was problematic. However, the overall message in Jay-Z's video is clear: create something authentic. It’s funny, yet awkward seeing Issa Rae and crew mirror characters in a world that was so clearly melanin-deficient it’s uncomfortable to watch now. This is also true when the debate of Friends, ripping off the all-black sitcom Living Single is tossed into the mix.
Tidal subscribers can check out the video here. "Moonlight" will be released on additional streaming services in a week.

More from Music


R29 Original Series

Watch Now
A look at the subcultures around the world that colour what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Explore the world's most vibrant cultural and culinary centres—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.