Jay Z Recreated 'Friends' With an All Black Cast in His "Moonlight" Video

Issa Rae is the new Jennifer Aniston.

Marie Claire
(Image credit: Marie Claire)

Jay Z just released the latest short film to accompany his album, 4:44, and it's completely brilliant. Not only does the video reference the moment that La La Land was wrongfully presented with Moonlight's Best Picture Oscar, it also recreates an episode of Friends with an all black cast (opens in new tab).

Friends was often criticized for a lack of diversity throughout its ten year run, which makes Jay Z's latest video all the more satisfying. Although the new cast repeat the episode's script verbatim, the film isn't a simple recreation. Instead, it's a comment on the erasure of black artists in popular culture, particularly in light of La La Land stealing the screen time and celebration that Moonlight deserved during the Academy Awards.

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As well as recreating an excerpt from "The One Where No One's Ready" (Season 3, Episode 2), which first aired in 1996, "Moonlight" also features a conversation between Hannibal Buress and Jerrod Carmichael about the roles that people of color are offered onscreen. And the end of the video sees Carmichael's Ross leave the Friends set, go outside, and sit basking in the moonlight.

In an example of perfect casting which will make you wish Jay Z's version of Friends (opens in new tab)was a real show, Issa Rae replaces Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green. The video also stars Get Out's Lil Rel Howery, Atlanta's, Thor: Ragnarok's Tessa Thompson, and Girls Trip's Tiffany Haddish.

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Amy Mackelden is a freelance writer, editor, and disability activist. Her bylines include Harper's BAZAAR, Nicki Swift, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, ELLE, The Independent, Bustle, Healthline, and HelloGiggles. She co-edited The Emma Press Anthology of Illness, and previously spent all of her money on Kylie Cosmetics.