Ever since the release of JAY-Z’s 13th studio album 4:44, the Internet has been talking, dissecting, think-piecing, praising and hating Hov’s latest musical effort. A standout track from the 10-track opus “The Story of O.J.” touches on being so successful one believes they can separate from their race, which is what many accused former Heisman Trophy winner O.J. Simpson of doing.
“I’m not black, I’m O.J…okay,” JAY-Z raps.
After releasing the stirring black-and-white cartoon video, chock full of racist images, Tidal released a behind-the-scene commentary of JAY-Z and his close celebrity friends discussing what it means to be black in America. Beginning with CNN political analyst Van Jones, the 48-year-old recalls finding out only after graduating from Yale Law School some students were being invited to professor’s homes to be bred for future careers in America’s judicial system.
“I thought I was showing up in class, doing my work, turning things in on time raising my hands. There was a whole other social world going on where those professors were picking students and helping them to become supreme court clerks, and I was just some little black kid from a public school,” Jones said.
Along with Jones, Academy-Award winner Mahershala Ali, Will Smith, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Rock, Trevor Noah and more discuss the pressures of being a black men, and how fame has provided a temporary saving grace.
“Success is still in many ways a synonym for white, and once you attach successful to the black man, there’s a little key that’s been given to you that gives you access to the white world,” Noah said. “The key can be taken away. Cosby, Tiger etcetera. The key can be taken away, but at least you have a key for the time being.”
Check out the poignant video below.
This article originally appeared in Vibe.