On Friday at exactly midnight, rapper Jay-Z dropped his highly anticipated 14th album, 4:44, much to the internet’s delight.
Shortly after he released the animated short for the controversial track, The Story Of O.J. In the song, Hov poignantly tells the story of O.J. Simpson, which ultimately unfolds into a broader discussion on race in America. Now, Tidal has released a short video, “Episode One: Footnotes for The Story of O.J.” that digs deeper into the nuances of being Black in America.
In the video, the 47-year-old artist gathered several famous Black men to share stories about their experiences with race. In some cases these interviews centered around the women who raised them. For example, Kendrick Lamar recollected an encounter his mother had with the police when he was just age 5. While Chris Rock shared an even more emotionally-charged story.
"My mother, in South Carolina, not too long ago — my mother, not my great grandmother — they wouldn’t let black people go to the dentist,” said the comedian. “So...all the Black people in town got their teeth taken out by the vet. Not only did they have to go to the vet to get their teeth removed, they had to go to the back door. Because God forbid the white people were using the same utensils...the same equipment on n----s, that would go on their dogs."
Actor Michael B. Jordan, whose career took off after his heartbreaking portrayal of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station (2013) also weighed in.
“Being Black in America is like being in a tiny, compressed box anchored at the bottom of the ocean with like 10,000 pounds of pressure on you at all times,” said Jordan. “You know, and feeling like you cannot really speak your truth and be who you are without being like criticized with like 1,000 opinions and pointed fingers telling you what you’re not and what you’re not doing.”
Check out the video here (with a Tidal subscription of course).
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