Jay-Z’s stunning creative vision for the “Family Feud” video drew some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including director Ava DuVernay, to help bring that vision to life. However, it also seems to have attracted some attention from an intriguing and unexpected source: The Catholic League, who issued a statement denouncing the video and Jay-Z’s lyrics as “relentlessly racist,” and “anti-black.”
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, often shortened to The Catholic League, is an organization founded in 1973 to “defend the right of Catholics participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination.” At first glance, it seems the organization’s current president and CEO, Bill Donohue, took issue with the strong religious overtones of the short film’s visuals. Shot in a massive cathedral with Jay-Z rapping in a confessional booth, the video uses the imagery to bolster some of its other austere, authoritarian imagery.
However, in an even more bizarre turn of events, it turns out the statement isn’t even addressing the video itself, but the trailer to the video that plays for anyone who doesn’t have a Tidal membership. Since the video currently lives exclusively on Jay-Z’s streaming platform, viewers need to sign into Tidal in order to watch it in its entirety.
The statement reads:
A video trailer is supposed to be a teaser, but in this case, it falls flat, leading nowhere.
Jay-Z’s recently released “Family Feud” video shows him walking into a Catholic church with his real-life daughter, rapping away—”Nobody wins when the family feuds”—as he struts. This is followed by a flashback scene where he is shown kissing a gal in her undergarments. Then Beyoncé appears, standing at the pulpit, wearing a navy blue outfit dressed like a queen. She is a priestess: she hears Jay-Z’s confession, apparently a statement on his real-life infidelities.
Is it anti-Catholic? No, it is not a bigoted assault. Indeed, it pales next to Jay-Z’s relentlessly racist (and anti-black) lyrics. But it is nonetheless gratuitous as well as exploitative, just the kind of thing we would expect from this genius couple.
Jay himself has yet to respond, but considering all the real drama surrounding Tidal, he probably doesn’t have the time or the attention to pay if Mr. Donohue can’t even be bothered to keep his subscription up or explain how a video imagining an Afrofuturist utopia ruled by Jay’s progeny is “anti-Black.”