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Jay-Z’s highly-anticipated video for “Family Feud” dropped on Friday and did not disappoint. The eight-minute short features the rapper, Blue Ivy, and Beyonce in some key scenes torn straight out of The Godfather, but it is the rest of the star-studded production that is gaining the most attention. And most of that is due to the talent of Selma and A Wrinkle In Time director Ava DuVernay.
DuVernay shared a few behind-the-scenes look at the production, shedding some light on the story elements within, what they meant to her, and some of the influences behind the visuals. It’s a fantastic thread, for the cinephiles and for the fans of the music. It also shows just how much goes into a production and the people who make it possible at every turn.
The first set deals with the scene set in 2444 starring Thandie Newton, Michael B. Jordan, and Moonlight‘s Trevante Rhodes, highlighting errors and adding, “All families hurt each other. Mistakes are made. Expectations unmet. Jealousies fester.” The photos of Jordan as a “black Jedi knight” are pretty cool and likely will create a few think pieces about DuVernay directing a Star Wars movie. Some of us are just concerned about the fashion choices we’re going to have to make in the future.
Next, we see Jessica Chastain interviewing the dual Presidents of the United States, played by Power star Omari Hardwick and voice of Disney’s Pocahontas Irene Bedard. DuVernay tries to let the scene’s speak for themselves, adding that they are for the viewers and fans, but she couldn’t help illuminating a little later on:
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 [Jay-Z] He was all in. We had fun dreaming this up. This country will not stay the same.
The next bit involves some time hopping according to Entertainment Weekly, with one scene dropping us in 2148 with David Oyelowo and Emayatzy Corinealdi — stars of DuVernay’s Middle Of Nowhere in 2012 — as a pair of reincarnated “keepers of the peace” and the other scene taking us to 2096 with A Wrinkle In Time star Storm Reid fighting in a war.
The “Founding Mothers” scene might be the one creating the most buzz online, with the elder Blue Ivy — played by This Is Us actress Susan Kelechi Watson — holding court with the other powerful women who revive the Constitution in 2050 according to the director. This includes Mindy Kaling, Rosario Dawson, Brie Larson, author Janet Mock, Niecy Nash, Rashida Jones, and Constance Wu:
“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!”
She then wraps up with a look at Jay-Z and family in the church, praising them for what they represent to fans and the community and letting them be their “brilliant, black, brave, bold selves.” She also shares a few of the inspirations for the confessional scene, pulling from Hitchcock and Hitman 2 to gather the right feel.
If anything, most are calling the short video a triumph and giving DuVernay some well-deserved praise. It certainly lives up to the hype.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)