Tidal has released the video for Jay-Z‘s “Family Feud,” an eight minute Ava DuVernay-directed visual featuring Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Blue Ivy as well as Michael B. Jordan, Trevante Rhodes, Jessica Chastain, Mindy Kaling, Janet Mock, Susan Kelechi Watson, Niecy Nash, Thandie Newton, Rashida Jones, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Constance Wu, Storm Reid, America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds, Henry G. Sanders, Storm Reid and more.
The film opens with a James Baldwin quote (“The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply; life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have.”) followed by a scene that place in 2444. In a palatial home, family matriarch Joan (Thandie Newton) is called out by her brother, Jordan (Michael B. Jordan), for poor leadership. The woman’s lover (Trevante Rhodes) kills her brother who is in turn stabbed in the back by Joan.
Commenting on the scene, DuVernay wrote on Twitter, “The first scene focuses on errors. All families hurt each other. Mistakes are made. Expectations unmet. Jealousies fester.”
The dual murders have generational impact and in a scene to follow, there are two U.S. presidents, Jacob and Bird (Omari Hardwick and Irene Bedard), who have been called forward to address the past murders and how they played a role in Jacob’s ascension.
Commenting on the dual presidency, DuVernay wrote, “In this future, due to harm currently being done, America demands that the position of POTUS be filled by two people,” adding, “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 [Sean Carter]. He was all in. We had fun dreaming this up. This country will not stay the same.
In his defense, the president recalls his ancestor fighting for the law throughout history, narrating a scene of freedom fighters waging war in 2148 to protect the rule of law. He also pointed out a “beloved ancestor” as the chief architect (Susan Kelechi Watson) among a group of founding mothers who helped rewrite the constitution in 2150. Serving up some shade to the current MAGA-obsessed administration, he goes on to describe the era as “Four-hundred-and-forty-four years ago at a time mind you when some who thought making America great meant making us afraid of each other.”
The group of founding mothers are shown debating the elements of the constitution, a discussion that creates a flashback to the year 2018, setting the scene for Jay-Z and his daughter, Blue Ivy (who plays the chief architect as a child, a connection highlighted by their similar dresses) to make their entry and kick off the music video for “Family Feud.” The music video is shot in the interior of an expansive and ornately designed church where Jay-Z is shot at turns confessing/rapping to Beyoncé through a confessional screen.
“What else is there to say? I believe in our power,” said DuVernay commenting on the founding mothers scene. “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!”
Costumes for the video were handled by “Insecure” costume designer Ayanna James who worked with Marni Senofonte on Beyoncé’s two looks. While standing at a lectern, she wears a Timothy White dress, Julia Gerard corset, Zana Bayne belt and a dramatic religious head piece designed by Ryan Dodson. In a second scene, she sits in a chair and wears a black dress with dramatic white satin sleeves from French designer Stéphane Rolland‘s fall haute couture 2017 collection.
“Family Feud” is included on Jay’s Grammy-nominated 4:44 album, which dropped on June 30, 2017.
Below are some screen caps along with some images shared by DuVernay on her Twitter feed.