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Ava DuVernay envisions a bold future with Beyonce, Blue Ivy and more in Jay-Z's star-studded 'Family Feud' video

Jay-Z's "Family Feud" video, directed by Ava DuVernay None
Jay-Z's "Family Feud" video, directed by Ava DuVernay

Just as a tumultuous 2017 approaches its end, Jay-Z and filmmaker Ava DuVernay have teamed up to put a hopeful spin on the future in the music video for “Family Feud” — and to help they have a powerhouse lineup of cameos by Michael B. Jordan, Thandie Newton, “Moonlight” actor Trevante Rhodes, Jessica Chastain, Omari Hardwick and more — including Queen B herself, Beyoncé.

“Family Feud,” a track from Jay-Z’s introspective “4:44,” would generate plenty of buzz without the extra dash of star power thanks to the raw accusations of infidelity Beyoncé sang about on “Lemonade.”  And indeed, in one “Family Feud” sequence, the rapper performs his verses walking hand in hand into church with daughter Blue Ivy before confessing his marital sins to Beyoncé herself. 

But the refrain “Nobody wins when the family feuds” doesn’t apply only to the Carters. What precedes Jay-Z’s own meta-family moment gives “Family Feud” breathtakingly expansive new life, delivered in a time-hopping cinematic prelude with pointedness and purpose by “Selma” and “The 13th” director DuVernay (whose Disney sci-fi fantasy epic “A Wrinkle in Time” opens March 9). 

DuVernay, who wrote the video with Jay-Z, offered additional insights into the making of the “Family Feud” film on Twitter. “In this future, due to harm currently being done, America demands that the position of POTUS be filled by two people,” she said, explaining why Hardwick’s president is joined by a Madam President played by Native American actress Irene Bedard.

Newton, Jordan and Rhodes play out Shakespearean familial dysfunction in the year 2444. Fifty years later, Hardwick plays a descendant who governs alongside Bedard; his family skeletons are called into question by a journalist figure played by Chastain. The family is Jay-Z’s; it is ours; it’s America; it’s the future. 

Between eras we see flashes of war (featuring America Ferrera and “Wrinkle in Time” actress Storm Reid), peace (kept by Emayatzy Corinealdi and David Oyelowo, both of whom starred in DuVernay’s second feature, “Middle of Nowhere”), and one particularly striking scenario: eight “Founding Mothers” played by Mindy Kaling, Janet Mock, Brie Larson, Niecy Nash, Susan Kelechi Watson, Constance Wu, Rosario Dawson and Rashida Jones, assembled to fix the Constitution.

With an opening salvo from James Baldwin, lines of dialogue from the 8-minute film ring with history and intention: “America is a family, and the whole family should be free." Just the sort of cinematic surprise to inspire the coming year’s resolutions.

Tidal has the video debut of “Family Feud.” (Warning: contains profanity.) 

 

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