Moonlight

Album: 4:44 (2017)
Charted: 86

Songfacts®:

  • This song is titled after the 2016 American coming-of-age drama movie Moonlight, which was the first film with an all-black cast to win the Oscar for Best Picture. At the ceremony, the musical La La Land was initially announced as the winner of Best Picture. However, co-presenter Warren Beatty had been given the wrong envelope and when the mistake was realized, La La Land producer Jordan Horowitz came forward to announce Moonlight as the correct winner. Jay-Z told iHeart radio:

    "The hook is 'We stuck in La La Land. Even if we win, we gonna lose.' It's like a subtle nod to La La Land winning the Oscar, and then having to give it to Moonlight. It's really a commentary on the culture and where we're going."
  • The producer No I.D. samples Fugees 1995 single "Fu-Gee-La." DJ Khaled borrowed from the same tune in 2016 for his Major Key track "Nas Album Done."
  • Directed by Master of None co-creator Alan Yang, the song's music video brings together a number of familiar faces to re-imagine the '90s sitcom Friends with an all-black cast. Atlanta's Lakeith Stanfield is Chandler; Insecure's Issa Rae is Rachel; Girl Trip's Tiffany Haddish is Phoebe; Thor: Ragnarok's Tessa Thompson is Monica; Get Out's Lil Rel Howery is Joey and comedian Jerrod Carmichael is Ross. Broad City's Hannibal Buress makes a cameo appearance as himself in which he criticizes the production, calling it "garbage."

    Instead of opening with the famous "I'll Be There For You" by The Rembrandts, the theme song is replaced with Whodini's hip-hop tune "Friends."
  • Jay-Z's intention for the visual was to address the "cultural conversation" on diversity in the entertainment business. Tessa Thompson explained in a behind-the-scenes video for Tidal:

    "We wanted to have a conversation about diversity inclusion, which is something that is really ripe in the cultural conversation at this moment and I thought to do it in an artful way, to be able to do it with such talented cohorts and in a way that it's creative and open to interpretation could be so interesting,

    All of these classic television shows, these white television shows, where there's virtually no people of color represented and redoing all of the cast as people of color, I think it's really cool."

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