'The Great Gatsby' Director Champions Film's Black-Led Score
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

jay-z smilingHave you seen The Great Gatsby yet? If so, you’ve noticed just how big a role hip-hop mogul Jay Z played in producing the movie’s score and soundtrack, which included several prominent African American artists, despite the utter lack of speaking parts for black actors in the film.

At the opening of the Cannes Film Festival on Wednesday, Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann told reporters that Jay’s involvement was key to the film, The Associated Press reports.

“We wanted the film to feel like how it would have felt to read the novel in 1925,” Luhrmann said. “[Author F. Scott Fitzgerald] put music front and center in his novel. He took African-American street music called jazz and he put it right as a star in the book. People said, ‘Why are you doing that? It’s a fad, it’ll be gone next week.’ And [Fitzgerald] said, because I want this book to feel right here, right now.”

Jay-Z’s own tracks – “$100 Bill” and the Grammy-winning jam “No Church in the Wild,” with Kanye West and Frank Ocean  – are featured on the soundtrack and prominently in the movie. There were also contributions from his wife Beyonce, Andre 3000 of Outkast, will.i.am,  and Q-Tip.

“Jay said that music is a star in the film so I think there is a great African-American presence in this film and I am very, very grateful for it,” Luhrmann added.

Join the Conversation

Aaron Morrison

Aaron Morrison is an award-winning New York area-based multimedia journalist with a B.A. in Journalism from San Francisco State University. Aaron uses video, audio, photography, the web and social networks to tell captivating stories across all media platforms. Over the last year, Aaron has worked as a general assignment reporter for the Daily Record (Gannett) in northern New Jersey. Before that, he spent the spring of 2010 as the temporary legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press' statehouse bureau in Trenton, N.J. In his down time, Aaron enjoys the company of his friends and extended family. He is a fan of culinary arts and dreams of having a home kitchen so tricked out that Julia Child turns over in her grave.


MORE ON BlackEnterprise.com