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Jay-Z Describes Black Experience in America in Footnotes for “The Story of O.J.” Video

Listen up, America.

To promote his newly released album, Jay-Z, Sprint and TIDAL released a mini documentary Monday at 4:44 p.m. focused on the black experience in America. Titled Footnotes for “The Story of O.J.,” it included interviews with Hov and other prominent stars, like Mahershala Ali, Michael B. Jordan, Van Jones, Kendrick Lamar, Trevor Noah, Chris Rock and Will Smith. Each interview was set to “The Story of O.J.,” one of 10 new songs included on Jay-Z’s album, 4:44.

“Being black in America is like being in a tiny, compressed box anchored at the bottom of the ocean with like 10,000 lbs. of pressure on you at all times, you know?” Jordan said in the video. “And not really feeling like you can be who you are or speak your truth without being criticized with 1,000 opinions and pointed fingers telling you what you’re not and what you’re not doing.”

“Success is still in many ways a synonym for white. And 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,” said Noah, who was born and raised in South Africa. “The key can be taken away: [Bill] Cosby, Tiger, etc.—the key can be taken away. But at least you have a key for the time being.”

“As black people—because we never had anything, which is understandable—we get to a place, and we just think we separate ourselves from the culture,” Jay-Z said in the video. “O.J. would get to a space where he’s like, ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J.’ Like Tiger Woods would get to a space and think, ‘I’m above the culture.’ And that same person when he’s playing golf and playing great, you’re protected. When you’re not, they’re gonna put pictures of you drunk driving and, like, embarrass you. That world will eat you up and spit you out…I understand it, because the psychological damage is so real. It’s so real. It’s going to take for the way showers to do it and then not get to that point and turn into, like, ‘I aint black! I’m O.J.’ Like, he made it! Like, he made it. Then it was like he cut all ties. Now the next generation of guys can’t come with him.”

Jay-Z released 4:44 Friday, and the rapper later told iHeartRadio’s The Beat that “The Story of O.J.” is “really a song about we as a culture, having a plan, how we’re gonna push this forward.”

The 47-year-old musician’s latest album is now available to stream for all TIDAL subscribers, courtesy of Sprint. “Now anyone who joins TIDAL can experience Jay-Z’s innovative new work,” Marcelo Claure, Sprint CEO, told E! News in a statement Tuesday. “Of course, Sprint customers and those who switch to Sprint can continue to enjoy a six-month trial of TIDAL HiFi on us.”

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