Chris Rock, Will Smith, and Kendrick Lamar Discuss Racism in Jay-Z’s New 4:44 Video ‘Footnotes for ‘The Story of O.J.’’

“Fame is the greatest gift that God can give a black man,” Chris Rock opines in Jay-Z’s new 4:44 short “Episode One: Footnotes for ‘The Story of O.J.’” The comedian joins other famous black men including Will Smith, Mahershala Ali, Michael B. Jordan, Michael Che, Kendrick Lamar, Get Out’s Lil Rel Howery, and Hov himself, among others, as they discuss racism, violence, wealth, and power in America. “Success is, in many ways, a synonym for white,” The Daily Show’s Trevor Noah notes in his interview. “So once you attach ‘successful’ to the black man, there’s a little key that has been given to you that may give you access to the white world.” The conversation reflects the themes of 4:44’s “The Story of O.J.” song and animated short, in which Jay-Z remarks ruefully on the experience of African-Americans in America, including those who break ties with the black community after achieving a certain level of success. “O.J. like, ‘I’m not black. I’m O.J.,’” he raps on the track, following it up immediately with a dubious, almost exasperated, “Okay.”

Jay-Z Drops New 4:44 Video ‘Footnotes for ‘The Story of OJ’’