Jay-Z didn’t hold back when it came to letting the world know what it’s like to be a black man in America on his already platinum album “4:44,” which dropped on Friday.
He incorporated other black voices on Monday when he released a footnotes video for his song “The Story of O.J.” Jay-Z, along with Van Jones, Kendrick Lamar, Michael B. Jordan, Will Smith, Mahershala Ali and others, got candid in their individual interviews about the routine racism they’ve faced throughout the years.
“Some shit that’s not going to happen in my lifetime. There’s going to be racism ’til the day I die,” Chris Rock said in the full video available on Tidal.
Ali explained that black men move throughout the world constantly on the defensive mode in order to survive.
“We don’t have the capacity to play offense,” the actor said. “Like we can’t move cause we are constantly looking for the moment when you’re going to be disrupted so you walk through the world very aware that the world views you a certain way. So you gotta play defense and you gotta play it real smooth.”
Celebs in the 8-minute video also explained how success and fame only shield them from racism but so much.
“Success is still in many ways a synonym for white,” Trevor Noah said. “And so once you’ve attached successful to the black man, there’s a little key that’s been given to you that may give you access to the white world. The key can be taken away... but at least you have a key for the time being.”
In his song “The Story of O.J.,” Hov calls out black people who become rich and famous and separate themselves from the culture. Noting when O.J. Simpson said “I’m not black, I’m O.J.,” Jay-Z urged black influencers to go beyond that and pave the way for the next generation of black leaders.
“It’s gonna take for the way-showers to do it and not get to that point and not turn into ’I ain’t black, I’m O.J.”
Watch a preview of “Footnotes for ‘The Story of O.J.’” above and watch the full video on Tidal.