Video Review: Jay-Z "The Story of O.J."

Animated in black-and-white, a plane flies over Queens in map of New York. Cars drive on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Inside the burlesque bar men are cheering. The band begins the play the song as the curtain opens. A young woman struts, wearing pasties on her nipples, as the men pump their arms.

A cross is raised on a field. Jaybo walks down the Brooklyn Bridge. He bites into some watermelon. A man runs on the football field. while Jaybo’s face changes shades and styles, adding a cigar and glasses (rich), worn hat (poor), curly hair (house) and a straw hat (field).

Jaybo rides the Colored bus by himself. O.J. takes off his helmet and says to the press that he isn’t black. Jaybo stands against a Florida postcard, sipping orange juice.

The butler stands by a mansion, which waves the Confederate flag, and points to it. The person working in the fields picks cotton. The slave in the house shines silverware. Jaybo leans against the barricade of a liquor store in downtown Brooklyn. An addict shakes while on the corner, a person buys drugs from a dealer.

Men, with halos and blood splattered robes, fly to heaven. Jaybo drives to his psychiatrist’s house. As he talks, his psychiatrist draws a stick figure of a woman with large breasts. Jaybo drives a train.

Jaybo, as Dumbo, flies over Brooklyn. A thug sits in a chair, his guns beside him.

The cross burns as the people pick cotton in the field. In the cotton mill, Ku Klux Klan members are churned out on the assembly line. Jaybo takes off his hood.

At the burlesque club, Jaybo sips from his glass as money flows around him. A neon sign stating credit hangs over the young woman performing. Jaybo walks on stairs made of dollar bills.

A child views a painting on the wall. On his porch, Jaybo holds two babies, his family surrounding him. Coins are stacked in rows as Jaybo performs on television.

A boat sails across the turbulent ocean. Black men are chained inside as Jaybo walks the aisle. The door closes behind him and the white sailors give him a salute.

He dances with the Ku Klux Klan. Black men get off the boat in chains. Three black people (including a little girl) are sold off during an auction. Hanging by a noose, Jaybo raps as people wait for him to die. A white little boy has a wide grin.

In Brooklyn, little kids catch money falling from the sky.

Rating: 5/5

Jay-Z implores the African-American community to stop labeling within their own race and invest in themselves.

From a cultural standpoint, the light-skinned African-American is considered acceptable by the mainstream. They are able to pass as Caucausian, then pressed for their true ethnicity and are favored over their dark-skinned peers. Dark-skinned African-Americans, though, are unattractive and thuggish. Both sides put one another down and are pitted against each other.

The expensive cars, purses from Louis Vuitton and sneakers from Gucci  are possessions with something to prove. After being used for a season or two, they are in the back of the closet or ruined from wear. The money could be used for a college education or help start a business within the city and contribute to rebuilding it.

Klu Klux Klan members churned out of a factory, marching and burning crosses in a field is a harrowing image that can’t be ignored. With the last election in the United States, the news media began to wonder why white people are suddenly lashing out. New York Times has run several pieces already about white people feeling invisible and explaining their conservative vote that it became a meme on Twitter.

Jay-Z seems to realize resentment is part of it as a successful African-American who built his own business. He addresses the minority of people who view him as jumping ahead in line, taking away “their” job and those within the hip-hop community who devalue his influence of it.

Directors: Jay-Z & Mark Romanek Year: 2017

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit ,Greatest City Collective, 45 Magazine ,Fevers of the Mind, Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kirstofia anthology. and forthcoming in Scrawl Place

4 thoughts on “Video Review: Jay-Z "The Story of O.J."

  1. What a fantastic review. Normally I read Book, Film and even Song reviews, but you have surprised me with this music video review. So interesting.

  2. I love this. Too often modern music and music videos as a communication medium are given enough credit for the powerful messages they are trying to convey. Great post!

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