As far as memorable TV shows go, Friends is right up there at the top of the heap: One need only hear a single chord from “I’ll Be There for You” to instantly be taken back to the days when Rachel, Phoebe, Monica, Joey, Chandler, and Ross were piling together on a little orange couch in front of a fountain. As much as we loved our sensational six, however, there was always one thing missing from their magic lineup: diversity. Now, 13 years after its final episode aired, JAY-Z has taken it upon himself to remedy that situation by giving us a reimagined version of the show with an all black cast, and OMG.
The rap mogul’s music video for 4:44’s “Moonlight,” now out on Tidal, recasts our beloved “friends” with Lakeith Stanfield as Chandler, Lil Rel Howery as Joey, Tessa Thompson as Monica, Tiffany Haddish as Phoebe, Jerrod Carmichael as Ross, and none other than Issa Rae as Rachel.
Not only do we get to see them recreate the goofy intro (albeit with Whodini’s “Friends” as the background music — even The Rembrandts have been replaced!), the guys are also shown in their apartment, cracking jokes about unknown refrigerator contents and being on time (Oh, Ross!).
Funny as it is, however, the video ultimately serves as a commentary on the erasure of people of color in popular culture. Furthering that point is audio from this year’s Oscars mix-up, which saw La La Land announced as Best Picture over — surprise, surprise! — Moonlight, which speaks to the stage time and recognition the film’s insanely talented black actors were robbed of in what should have been a moment of glory.
Tidal subscribers can check out the video in full.
What do you think of JAY’s new vid? Tell us over @BritandCo.
(h/t Marie Claire; photos via Tidal + Ezra Shaw/Getty)