JAY-Z remade Friends with black actors
Issa Rae, Jerrod Carmichael, and more star in the clip
JAY-Z gathered some of today’s hottest stars for a remake of Friends that replaces the gang with a cast of black actors, including Insecure‘s Issa Rae and Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield.
The clip, presented as a music video for 4:44 track “Moonlight” and directed by Master of None‘s Alan Yang, kicks off with Stanfield and his Get Out costar Lil Rel Howery channeling Joey and Chandler before Ross stand-in Jerrod Carmichael strides in. It’s soon revealed that Rae is Rachel, Westworld‘s Tessa Thompson plays Monica, and Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish is Phoebe.
Then, it’s time for the opening credits: The whole crew messes around on a couch in front of a fountain as Whodini’s “Friends” — a 1984 song with lyrics like “Friends / How many of us have them? / Ones we can depend on” — plays on.
At two points, the video breaks down the fourth wall, like when comedian Hannibal Buress comes to visit — and tease — Carmichael.
“It’s just episodes of Seinfeld, but with black people,” Buress says. “Who asked for that?”
After Carmichael corrects him that, no, this is Friends, and he said yes because he thought it would be “subversive,” Buress ribs him more: “You did a good job of subverting good comedy,” he responds. “You gonna do black Full House next? Family Ties? Home Improvement?”
By the video’s end, the style switches from a bright, sterile sitcom to something dreamier as Rae leads Carmichael off the soundstage and “Moonlight” begins playing. Watch the full short above to see where Carmichael-as-Ross ends up.