JAY-Z and Diddy have long been the two biggest moguls in hip-hop and beyond, and now the friends have partnered again. Starting this week, REVOLT will be the exclusive television home for the Footnotes series of mini-films that accompany JAY-Z's latest album 4:44.
Every Thursday at 7 p.m., REVOLT will air the films on TV. It all begins on Thursday, July 20 with "Footnotes of 'The Story of OJ," a video created to accompany the song and music video behind the thought-provoking Jay-Z song of the same name. The film will air hours after O.J. Simpson's parole hearing on counts remaining from his conviction in Las Vegas in 2008.
"The Story of O.J." is one of the most poignant pieces to come out this year and marks a significant artistic milestone in JAY-Z's career. The record and its accompanying brain-sparking visual are bountiful with gems about financial fruitfulness in the Black community and maintaining your cultural identity after attaining wealth.
The short film "Footnotes for 'The Story of O.J.'" features the likes of JAY-Z, Chris Rock, Kendrick Lamar, Michael B. Jordan, Mack Wilds and Mahershala Ali, all sharing firsthand accounts of their experiences with racism and police brutality while giving analysis and commentary about what it feels like to be black in America.
"The difference between Black men and White men is this. We move through the world playing defense," Ali surmised, in one of the most profound statements in the film. "We don't have the capacity to play offense. ... We are constantly looking for the moment when you're going to be disrupted. You move knowing the world sees you a certain way."
"We get to a place and separate ourselves from the culture like O.J. [Simpson] will get to a space where he's like 'I'm not black, I'm O.J.,'" JAY-Z explains in the film.
JAY-Z's song and video come as O.J. Simpson himself is scheduled to appear in front of the Nevada Board of Commissioners for a parole hearing on Thursday. The former Heisman Trophy winner has been in prison for almost nine years on a myriad of robbery and gun charges and was originally sentenced to serve 33 years. He's been at Lovelock Correctional Facility and according to reports has been a "model inmate. " Should Simpson get parole, he is said to be released in October.
Simpson's notoriety reached another zenith last year, as it was the 20th anniversary of his acquittal in the trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. There was an Emmy Award-winning ESPN documentary on his life titled O.J. Simpson: Made In America, along with an FX-acclaimed series The People Vs O.J.: American Crime Story. In the latter, actor Cuba Gooding Jr. delivered Simpson's infamous declaration to his lawyers: "I'm not Black, I'm not white. I'm O.J." The clip from the show may have served as inspiration for Jay-Z's rhymes.
"O.J. like, 'I'm not black, I'm O.J.' ..okay," Hov raps towards the beginning of the song "Story of O.J." "House nigga, don't fuck with me./ I'm a field nigga with shined cutlery./ Gold-plated quarters where the butlers be./ I'mma play the corners where the hustlers be./ I told him, 'Please don't die over the neighborhood./ That your mama rentin'./Take your drug money and buy the neighborhood./ That's how you rinse it.'
"You wanna know what's more important than throwin' away money at a strip club? Credit," he says later.
The black-and-white animated video for "The Story of O.J." harkens back to the bigoted, caricatured images of yesteryear, where Black people were drawn with over exaggerated features. It centers around the character "JayBo" (he holds a watermelon in one scene), and features Ku Klux Klansman, slaves on a ship and Black Olympics heroes, all set to Jay's piercing rhymes.
"Footnotes to 'The Story of O.J.'" is just The beginning of mind impelling visuals to be married with the music of JAY-Z's latest classic LP. Come to Revolt TV every Thursday at 7 P.M. to see a new mini-film from the critically acclaimed, current number one album in the country 4:44.