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Jay-Z’s ‘Family Feud’ Directed By Ava DuVernay Enlists A-List Cast For Future-Is-Female Utopia

Jay-Z released his video for his single “Family Feud” last night exclusively on Tidal and although it was more than a standard music video premiere. Much like anything else he and Beyonce create, it was a cultural event to punctuate 2017 with the most inclusive, woke A-list cast you will ever see in a music video.

Helmed by Ava DuVernay, the seven-minute-plus video is a short film, serves up some sci-fi, futuristic realness that can very well be a taste of what’s to come in the celebrated director’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. Joining Jay-Z, Beyonce and the heiress to their throne Blue Ivy includes an inspiring roster of actors from every part of the color spectrum: Michael B. Jordan, Trevante Rhodes, Thandie Newton, Jessica Chastain, Irene Bedard, Omari Hardwick, David Oyelowo, Emayatzy Corinealdi, America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds, Henry G. Sanders, and Storm Reid — who is the star of Wrinkle in Time. Rounding out the cast is the “founding mothers”, which feature Mindy Kaling, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, Janet Mock, Brie Larson, Constance Wu, Niecy Nash, and Susan Kelechi Watson, who, as the video shows, are different women from all walks of life who are enlisted to change the country’s constitution.

Even though there is a cinematic scope to the video, which was co-written by Jay-Z and DuVernay, it is highly personal for the Grammy-nominated rapper, who uses the track from his critically acclaimed 4:44 album to confess his sins to his wife and all-around queen of everything, Beyonce. Where Beyonce used her visual album, Lemonade as a platform for working through her personal issues with Jay-Z, he used 4:44 to respond and tell his side of the story. In other words, it’s an artistic way of saying, “Yea, I messed up.”

Jay’s track serves as an atonement and one key lyric sets the tone for the short film: “nobody wins when the family feuds.” Of course, he is referring to his familial relationships, but it goes beyond that and applies it to feuding within the country and the world. There’s layers of meaning in the short that starts off with a poignant James Baldwin quote and goes into a Godfather-meets-Game of Thrones scene, moments of war, moments reflecting today’s volatile political climate, and a group of empowering females looking to build a utopian rather than dystopian future.

DuVernay took to Twitter to share her thoughts, inspiration and behind-the-scenes photos from the video.

Here are a few more images of Mike looking like the black Jedi knight I wish we had. Shout out to our on-set photographer #SerBaffo who I met a decade ago as a PA on my first doc. He did the damn thing here. Good work, gentlemen. pic.twitter.com/oyez5JSHKK

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 29, 2017

I loved the idea of their being Co-Presidents of the United States in the future. And that a Native American woman was one of them. One of the first ideas I shared with @S_C_. He was all in. We had fun dreaming this up. This country will not stay the same. #ChangeIsComingpic.twitter.com/IsRYwV62Hr

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 29, 2017

The Founding Mothers. What else is there to say? I believe in our power. And I appreciate these dynamic artists who came out on a Saturday to represent all kinds of women at the table. Not a seat. ALL THE SEATS! #FamilyFeudFilmpic.twitter.com/LZFTuYBwJn

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 30, 2017

I'll let the final scene just stay where it is. In the film, with that family. Being their brilliant, black, brave, bold selves. May we all fortify our families. Our communities. Our society. In whatever ways we can. Much love. And thanks for watching #FamilyFeudFilm! xo. A. pic.twitter.com/r6yWsiJX6f

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 30, 2017

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