Jay Z Almost Cried Over the Treatment for His ‘Moonlight’ Video

Many people were deeply affected by Jay Z’s latest video from his 4:44 album for the song “Moonlight.” In the clip, the television sitcom Friends is reimagined with an entirely Black cast, featuring Jerrod Carmichael as Ross, Issa Rae of HBO’s Insecure as Rachel. Lil Rel Howery from Get Out as Joey, Atlanta’s Lakeith Stanfield as Chandler, Tessa Thompson from Creed as Monica and Tiffany Haddish as Phoebe. It serves as powerful visual commentary about representation in modern media that actually nearly moved Jay himself to tears.

In a new interview with Vulture, the film’s director talked about how “Moonlight” came together, and Jay’s response when he read the treatment. “Chaka [Pilgrim, President of Roc Nation] came back to New York and I had to sell her on it a little bit because it’s such an insane idea,” he recalled. “I don’t think she was super familiar with Friends, it’s not her jam, but I was like, ‘trust me, it’s a very popular show and this will be a weird but interesting thing for us to work on. It’s a provocative idea and I really believe in it.’ So she sent the treatment to Jay and, I don’t know if this is true, but she said he really liked it. And then later, when we were deep into production, she pulled me aside and told me that after he finished reading the treatment, he felt like he wanted to cry.”