The Catholic League released a statement criticizing Jay-Z’s star-studded “Family Feud” video on Tuesday, calling the Ava DuVernay-directed clip “gratuitous as well as exploitative.”
The statement only addresses the portions of the video featured in the teaser trailer released last week — not the full 8-minute video which was available to stream on Friday — shows Jay and daughter Blue Ivy entering a church, where Beyonce watches over them from the pulpit.
In another scene, Beyonce hears his confession, likely referencing his oft-alluded-to infidelity.
“Is it anti-Catholic? No, it is not a bigoted assault. Indeed, it pales next to Jay-Z’s relentlessly racist (and anti-black) lyrics,” Catholic League president Bill Donohue concedes in the statement. “But it is nonetheless gratuitous as well as exploitative, just the kind of thing we would expect from this genius couple.”
Co-written and directed by DuVernay, the video tells the story of Jay’s family line and its rise to power, imagining a future where a grown-up Blue Ivy (played by “This Is Us” star Susan Kelechi Watson) leads a panel to rewrite the constitution with a group of female leaders, and another descendant (a cameo from “A Wrinkle in Time” star Storm Reid) leads a revolutionary war in 2096.
The reverse-chronological video begins where the story ends, in 2444, where “Black Panther” star Michael B. Jordan and “Westworld’s” Thandie Newton play warring members of a family in a Shakespearean tale of murder and power.
The video’s A-list cast includes David Oyelowo, Jessica Chastain, Omari Hardwick, Irene Bedard, America Ferrera, Aisha Hinds, Janet Mock, Niecy Nash, Rosario Dawson, Brie Larson, Mindy Kaling, Constance Wu and Rashida Jones.
Read the Catholic League’s full statement below:
A video trailer is supposed to be a teaser, but in this case it falls flat, leading nowhere.
Jay-Z’s recently released “Family Feud” video shows him walking into a Catholic church with his real-life daughter, rapping away–“Nobody wins when the family feuds”–as he struts. This is followed by a flashback scene where he is shown kissing a gal in her undergarments. Then Beyoncé appears, standing at the pulpit, wearing a navy blue outfit dressed like a queen. She is a priestess: she hears Jay-Z’s confession, apparently a statement on his real-life infidelities.
Is it anti-Catholic? No, it is not a bigoted assault. Indeed, it pales next to Jay-Z’s relentlessly racist (and anti-black) lyrics. But it is nonetheless gratuitous as well as exploitative, just the kind of thing we would expect from this genius couple.