It’s the same orange sofa, the same purple walls, the same dialogues, and even the same characters. Only it’s different.
Jay Z’s video for his song Moonlight remakes an episode of iconic sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S with an all-Black cast and makes a bold statement on the role of racism in Hollywood and media.
The video -- directed by Master of None co-creator Alan Yang -- shows part of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S Season 3 episode The One Where No One’s Ready and plays with the video of the show’s popular theme song ‘I’ll be there for you’.
Before the song begins, Jerrod Carmichael who plays Ross walks out of the set to ask comedian comedian Hannibal Buress (playing himself) what he thinks of the show.
Buress scornfully responds: “Garbage. It was terrible man... You did a good job of subverting good comedy. Will you do Black Full House next?”
Then the set blurs as a cue for the song to begin:
We stuck in La La Land / Even when we win, we gon’ lose...
Cause their grass is greener / Cause they always rakin’ in mo
The over 7-minute video stars Issa Ray (Rachel) from HBO’s popular comedy Insecure and The Carmichael Show’s Lil Rel Howery (Joey) and Jerrod Carmichael (Ross). Lakeith Stanfield plays Chandles, Tiffany Haddish is Phoebe and Tessa Thompson is Monica. The short film, which is part of Jay Z’s album 4:44, has more than two lakh hits on YouTube.
This isn’t the first time Jay Z has spoken through his art against whitewashing in the industry. His music video The Story of OJ ran into controversy over allegedly anti-Semitic lyrics. The song begins with: Skin is / skin, is Skin black / my skin is black / My, black, my skin is yellow
Recently, several movies, including Aloha, Argo, Prince of Persia, were mocked for casting exclusively white actors. Ironically, Oscar-winner La La Land was also criticised for whitewashing the history of Jazz.