Belfast Telegraph

JAY-Z and Will Smith call out racism in Story of O.J. film

JAY-Z's new album is continuing to make headlines with a new track calling out racism.

Will Smith and Chris Rock have recalled their experience of racism for a film accompanying JAY-Z's new track The Story of O.J.

The eight minute documentary, titled "Footnotes for 'The Story of O.J." expands on the themes Jay's song, which addresses why African-Americans are victims of inequality and prejudice.

It also features the actor Mahershala Ali, Kendrick Lamar, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, and Christopher Darden, a prosecuting lawyer in the infamous O.J. Simpson trial.

In the film Will says, "I knew really young that if I thought of myself as somehow less than somebody else I was going to build a life that was less."

Chris tells a harrowing story about how as a young girl living in South Carolina his mother was forced to go to a vet for dental treatment.

"They wouldn't let black people go to the dentist," he explains. "So all the black people in town got their teeth taken out by the vet.

In the film Jay discusses the need for black celebrities to stay true to their roots, as wealth will not always insulate them.

Citing the cases of O.J. Simpson and Tiger Woods as stars accepted by white American society then brought low by legal trouble he says, "We tend to, as black people, cause we never had anything, which is understandable, we get to a place, and we just thing we separate ourselves from the culture.

"Like 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."

The Story of O.J. appears on Jay's new album 4:44, which debuted on his Tidal streaming service on Friday (30Jun17). The film is also exclusively available to users of the service.

The album has already drawn headlines due to apparent references to troubles in the rapper's relationship with his wife, fellow artist Beyonce.

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