Jay-Z's latest album, 4:44, has arguably been as successful as fans expected it to be, winning over critics and selling like hotcakes. And the Grammy winner took on another massively popular piece of pop culture for his newest music video, which is a particularly strange quasi-spoof of the hit sitcom Friends, with all of the original actors replaced by some of the most talented black actors and actresses out there, including Jerrod Carmichael and Issa Rae. Check out a clip below, as shared by video director (and Master of None co-creator) Alan Yang.
Why is it so much fun to see all these recognizable celebs aping Friends' ridiculous opening credits? I don't know, but it is. Above, we see The Carmichael Show's Jerrod Carmichael as Ross, Insecure creator and star Issa Rae as Rachel, Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish as Phoebe, Get Out's Lil Rey Howery as Joey, Westworld's Tessa Thompson as Monica, and Atlanta's LaKeith Stanfield as Chandler. (That's MS. Chanandler.) It's kind of awesome that such a thing can be replicated so well over two decades after the original opening was filmed.
Following the opening, "Moonlight" hits upon the classic Friends episode "The One Where No One's Ready," from Season 3. In the ep, Ross is stressing about nobody being ready for a function being held at the museum he works for, and Jay-Z's version has the actors all playing the Friends roles straight, performing the same dialogue and getting the same live audience laughs. The full video for "Moonlight" is currently only available to Tidal customers, as hinted at in the tweet above, but you can check out another clip from the video on Tidal's website right now, for which Jerrod Carmichael is a more enjoyable Ross than Ross was.
For a quick side-note, it is absolutely worth pointing out how bizarre it is that Carmichael is acting out a part from a popular NBC sitcom just ONE DAY after NBC execs laid out their explanations for why The Carmichael Show was cancelled at the end of June. Plus, we're less than a week away from the series finale airing. Timing, right?
In any case, the "Moonlight" video ends up taking a left turn that involves an appearance from Hannibal Burress, and while I won't spoil anything, suffice to say there's a statement being made about the general state of black entertainers in Hollywood. A purposeful lack of subtlety involved, too, made extremely clear when the song samples the infamous Oscars flub where Warren Beatty announced the wrong Best Picture winner.