Alan Yang Talks Directing Jay-Z’s Star-Studded “Moonlight” Video

(AllHipHop News) Alan Yang was tapped to direct Jay-Z’s Friends-inspired music video for “Moonlight.”

The visuals starred several breakout actors of contemporary “Black Hollywood.”

Jerrod Carmichael (The Carmichael Show), Issa Rae (Insecure), Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Tessa Thompson (Creed), and Lil Rel Howery (Get Out) took on the characters in the remake of the popular NBC series.

Yang spoke with Pigeons & Planes about his participation in the Friends remake that has led to articles saying Jay created “a sort of meta-commentary on black representation in media and artistic ownership.”

The co-creator of Master of None stated:

There was something interesting about recasting Friends because it’s a show that’s in our lifetime, and yet you still watch it now. And by the way, the video is not a slam on Friends. Friends is a great show. I’ve met Marta Kauffman. She’s delightful and it’s a very well-crafted show. To me, it’s more of a glimpse at how far we have come as a culture. And how far we have yet to go.

I don’t want to be didactic and tell people what to think of the video, but one thing that Jay and I talked about is the importance of making your own stuff. I know that sounds trivial, but it really is just owning and making your own stuff. And that applies to movies, music, TV shows, art, whatever it is you’re making. It’s important to be the author of your own material.

According to Yang, the original treatment for the “Moonlight” video was to film an entire 21-minute Friends episode shot-for-shot.

They also considered ending the clip with characters turning into skeletons.

Yang revealed:

[Jay] sort of talked to me about what he liked about the idea, and he got me off the skeletons idea, which was probably correct. I think he helped make it better.

Apparently, it was Jay-Z that chose Whodini’s “Friends” as the theme song for the “show”.

Yang told Vulture:

Shawn Carter. Jay-Z! I told him we couldn’t clear the rights to the original theme song, and he was like, “Yo, what if it’s this Whodini song?” Shit, what an amazing idea. It’s so funny seeing them dance to that song.
The 33-year-old screenwriter/producer also spoke to the outlet about the ensemble picked for the video:
I was always firmly in the camp of, let it be the right generation of black actors and actresses, and let it be this new crop of up-and-comers ready to explode. They’re not top-lining movies yet, but they will be soon.

The 33-year-old screenwriter/producer also discussed the video’s talented acting ensemble being made up of people of color.

Yang said:

I was always firmly in the camp of, let it be the right generation of black actors and actresses, and let it be this new crop of up-and-comers ready to explode. They’re not top-lining movies yet, but they will be soon.

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