Jay Z's 4:44 video targets the prison system with Ron Perlman, Jesse Williams
Jay Z brought some light to Black Friday. The rapper dropped three new videos in the wake of post-Thanksgiving food comas and retail story sales — one of which, "Legacy," offered a powerful visual to the final track of his hit album, 4:44.
Ron Perlman, Jesse Williams, Susan Sarandon, Emile Hirsch, Jonathan Tucker, Edi Gathegi, Aldis Hodge, and Kwame Boateng feature in the "Legacy" video, which was written and directed by Jeymes Samuel.
"Legacy. That's why I called y'all here, not ‘cause of skin color or some wistful dream of freedom. The story you leave for people who come behind you," Perlman says in a take on the criminal justice system — something Jay Z has spoken about in the past.
The rapper, born Shawn Corey Carter, penned an op-ed in The New York Times recently about the incarceration of Meek Mill, who was jailed for a minimum sentence of two years for violating his probation.
"What's happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day," Carter wrote. He added later in the column, "It's time we highlight the random ways people trapped in the criminal justice system are punished every day."
Visuals for two other 4:44 tracks, "Marcy Me" (about a young man's New York City night out) and "Smile" (the song featuring Jay Z's mom, Gloria Carter), were also released on Friday.
Jay Z tapped celebrities like Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong'o, and Donald Glover to star in various other visuals for his album. Insecure‘s Isa Rae, Thor: Ragnarok‘s Tessa Thompson, Get Out‘s Lakeith Stanfield and Lil Rel Howery, comedian Jerrod Carmichael, and Girls Trip‘s Tiffany Haddish also recreated Friends with an all-black cast for the "Moonlight" track. <div class="tidal-embed" data-type="v" data-id="80531312"></div><script src="https://embed.tidal.com/tidal-embed.js"></script>
All visuals are available to watch on Tidal.com.