Tag Archives: Jay-Z

Sean Carter Confessionals: Family Feud

The wretched of the earth do not decide to become extinct, they resolve, on the contrary, to multiply; life is their weapon against life, life is all that they have.

-James Baldwin

A man who don’t take care of his family can’t be rich. I watched Godfather, I missed that whole shit…



The year is 2444 The home is rich and lavish. The setting is coldness, anger and betrayal. Michael B. Jordan storms angrily into the bedroom of Thandie Newtown’s characteron a particularly “important day” loudly berating her capacity to be the head of a clearly powerful family only to find her in bed with a dude played by Moonlight’s Trevante Rhodes. I notice immediately how pale Thandie, Michael B. Jordan and X are. The only colors you see are like pale blues and yellows. But the paleness of their skin tone makes me think of sickness, deficiency, greed heartlessness and death. Sure enough, before the scene is done, both men are killed, Mark by Trevante and then Trevante by Thandie’s character, Game of Thrones style, because she wants the family “Throne” for herself.


Both Anthony and Trevante are both wearing clothing at the waist inspired by garb worn by men in ancient Khemit. Thandie wears a scant bandage outfit nearly identical to the one Milla Jojovich wore in the “The Fifth Element” a film set in a future that opens in an Egyptian temple and where the planet is under threat of total destruction if an essential element, which is embodied by a woman is not recovered.

Jay Z Family Feud screen grab Credit: Tidal

In the year 2148 an indigenous woman, Bird and Jacob played by Irene Bedard and Omari Hardwick are joint world leaders hailing from two great families. They respond to questions from a citizenry council about violent events that have lead to Jacob’s rise in power. Jacob recounts the legacy of his family and their struggle to uphold and maintain law and justice throughout generations. He talks about how one of his ancestors who played a major role as one of the founding mothers.

Founding Mothers

She was the primary architect of something called “The Confessional Papers” in 2050 and revised the constitution with a group of amazing women, played by Janet Mock, Neicy Nash, Mindy Khaling, Rosario Dawson and Rashida Jones just to name a few.

His ancestor, played by Susan Kelechi Watson in the year 2050 by is none other than Blue Ivy Carter.

Now we’re in Blue Ivy’s  narrational 2050 memory as she recalls her father’s words, “Nobody wins when the family feuds.”


Cut to 2018 which is basically now, where there the musical narrative of the video for Jay Z’s “Family Feud” begins. Jay-Z walks a present day Blue Ivy to sit in a church pew and then walks the front to start rapping before Beyonce who Amens at him from the pulpit in royal Blue, looking like a sanctified and sexy ass Popestress. She also appears in a black mini dress and billowy white sleeves behind the screen of a confessional as Jay speaks to her from the other side. The metaphor is plain to see now. And there is still so much left to unpack. I want this to be movie or a television series!

Blu ivy FF

I’m still on the floor!

I don’t know about you but I’ve already watched this video about five times now. I know I will lose count of how many times I watch it again and of how many other pieces of symbolism I pick out of this brilliant work of art and revolution made explicitly for the culture. I also know that 4:44 is a fierce, proud and unapologetically Black call to action to each of us who are about that life if there ever was one and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to arrive as 2017 comes to an end and 2018 kicks the door and our asses in.

Here’s to a Black Ass, Woke Ass 2018!









Notes on 4:44: Black Male Vulnerability

You know I thug em, fuck em, love em, leave em 
Cause I don’t fuckin’ need em
Take em out the hood, keep em lookin’ good
But I don’t fuckin’ feed em 

-Big Pimpin


Everybody wants to be needed on some level

Chris Rock


My brother was the one who brought Jay Z into my world. And a lot of what my brother paid close attention to when I was growing up inevitably entered my consciousness as well. X-Men comic books, metal ninja stars, GI Joe, Hip Hop…

I remember my brother buying a lot of Jay’s albums and a long landscape poster of Jay Z on his bedroom wall. I didn’t think he was attractive. He just looked like a regular dude to me, whatever that means, but his confidence was undeniable. And I remember thinking, who is this guy? What capital does he have to impress me with if he’s not super good looking? When I listened to him, I got it right away. He was not unlike like Sinatra who was also no studio heart throb. That didn’t matter though. He was gonna do it his way.

Continue reading Notes on 4:44: Black Male Vulnerability

How Tidal Got Me: 4:44 and The Story of OJ

Light nigga, dark nigga, faux nigga, real nigga
Rich nigga, poor nigga, house nigga, field nigga
Still nigga, still nigga

I was up late Friday night doing some work and conversing with Khalilah through Whatsapp. Jay Z’s 4:44 album dropped and she was raving about it. I learned about it from Mahershala Ali as he is featured in a video component of the album. I am a Mahershali Ali Day 1 stan just so you know. That short snippet of him punching a boxing bag with Danny Glover as his coach had me at hello. And then there’s Jay-Z’s lyrics over a laid back and emotionally nostalgic beat.

Letter to my father that I never wrote?

WHAT? Who is not immediately pulled in by that? But when I looked for it on iTunes it wasn’t there, and I learned from Khalilah, that it might never be released on other digital streaming platforms. I grew more and more annoyed with every social media rave review. This shit is really only on Tidal! I cannot begin to explain how frustrating and how dope that is at the same time. So I signed up. It’s the same price a month as Apple Music and is owned by Jay-Z. I think it’s a Boss move. He got my money, and I got an exclusive, powerful, elevated, beautiful, revolutionary and transformative Black experience.

I’m not gonna go into the album right now. I’ve listened to it once and really like it but I still need some time with it. Lets talk about the video for “The Oj Story”and how it gave me everything I didn’t even know I needed or could have in my life like 2 minutes in.

You wanna know how Jewish people own all the property in America?

Jay Bo on the cornerI think a semester long course on Jay’s choice of visual narrative, the lyrics, the symbolism, his message about generating wealth in the Black community and how much money has been made off of Black people to generate wealth for Whites could be taught on this track and video right now. There would be a waiting list a mile long to sign up for it.

The credits open to an animated cartoon cotton field  in the style of racist minstrel animation of the 1920s. I noted how close the opening was to Warner Bros cartoons like Bugs Bunny that I used to watch daily as a girl. Jay-Z plays a character called Jay-Bo, a version of Little Black Sambo.  Nina Oj StoryHe narrates as a laid back, cool and “free” agent in this animation that was created to dehumanize, humiliate and clown Black people at a time when “Civil Rights” was a distant dream. A sample of Nina Simone’s “Four Women” plays as an animated Nina Simone plays piano in a Burlesque club and Jay raps about how credit is more important than making it rain.

Very early on you see a wooden cross being erected invisibly into the sky. It gives me chills because my body knows this is not about Christianity. Or is it? The next time we see the cross is in the background of a landscape of slaves picking cotton in unison. The cross bears down on them oppressively from on high. Is he commenting on the way in which Christianity has kept us controlled, rootless and poor?

The scene that really stays with me (I’ve only viewed three times so far) is when Jay-Bo sings the rhythmic but sobering hook, with a noose around his neck in front of a crowd of racist White onlookers who are all watching him hang. In the corner we see one little White boy turn to the viewer and smile from ear to ear.



I bought some artwork for 1 million
2 years later, that shit worth 2 million
Few years later, that shit worth 8 million
I can’t wait to give this shit to my children

Y’all think it’s bougie, I’m like, it’s fine
But I’m trying to give you a million dollars worth of game for $9.99

Screen Shot 2017-06-30 at 10.53.46 PM

At the end of the video, Black people in the city borough neighborhoods jump for joy as Jay drops fistfuls of cash on them, a happy ending as it were. Why not? Why are we the only ones who get taught that money is the root of all evil and that we have to Sambo our way through life, turning the other cheek and pouring all of our money into a system that continues to divide and murder us?

It is masterful. No pun intended. Well, actually Jay is the master, so pun intended. Listen, I rarely try to talk anyone into doing anything I do just because I love it but if you’re Black and you don’t already subscribe to Tidal, you need to do it now. Just do it to experience this album. You can cancel anytime. But if you understand anything about the message of this album at all, at this time in Black history, then you will keep subscribing.

Nobody wins when the family feuds.

Oh, I’ll get to the album review soon…