It’s out! Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s previously Tidal-exclusive “Family Feud” video, teased last week, has been released on YouTube for the whole world to see. The star-studded music video, directed by Ava DuVernay, tells the story of an alternate future shaped by the writing of a new constitution in the year 2050. The scene opens after an insightful quote by the great American novelist James Baldwin. In the year 2444, actor Michael B. Jordan walks up the stairs to confront his sister on what is meant to be an important day for the royal family. He storms into the room to find his sister, played by the incomparable Thandie Newton, in her room sleeping. Jordan says to his sister, “You have no fucking honor” before her lover gets off the bed and strangles him to death. From there we’re transported into the future, where the narrator works his way back chronologically, showing how this future was formed on women’s empowerment and a new world order. The narration keeps working its way back until now we’re in the year 2018, in a church, with Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s daughter, Blue Ivy, as she is seen walking down the aisle holding her father’s hand. At five minutes, 30 seconds, the music starts. It’s at that point where you can’t help but nod your head in agreement, and in synchronicity with the beat.
The themes of this video are seen clearly from the beginning—first and foremost, black and women empowerment. Director DuVernay shows us in the video the best and worst of humanity as she speculates on what it would take to create a better future for the next generation. The title, “Family Feud,” is represented in the initial scene, as brother and sister murder each other for their rightful place to the throne. However, the song and accompanying video send a message of unity—of ending divide. Interestingly enough, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights has condemned the video, calling it slander towards the Catholic Church by its use of Beyoncé as a priestess, with Jay Z confessing his infidelity to her. On Jan. 2, the Catholic League’s president Bill Donohue released a statement calling the music video “gratuitous as well as exploitative, just the kind of thing we would expect from this genius couple.”
With an all-star roster of around 20 actors jam-packed into this eight-minute video (including notable names like Mindy Kaling, Selma star David Oyelowo and Rashida Jones) it might be hard for the Catholic League to get its message across. Produced by the talented Flying Lotus, it’ll be hard for us to keep from listening to this track over and over again for years to come. One thing we can say to Jay-Z, Beyoncé and all those who worked on this video is: keep ‘em coming.
Watch the “Family Feud” music video below, and read our review of Jay-Z’s 4:44 here.