Jay-Z says he sees part of himself in the determined titular character of the new film The Book of Clarence.
“Streetwise but struggling,” Clarence, played by LaKeith Stanfield, sets out on a quest to make a better life for himself and his family. It’s a journey the Grammy-winning rapper says he’s all too familiar with.
“I relate to this character,” he tells Ebony. “It’s almost autobiographical — you want to make something in yourself.”
Fascinated by the power of the rising messiah, Clarence aims to prove to the world he’s not a nobody and make himself worthy of the woman he loves.
“You want to be around your loved ones,” Jay-Z says of his connection to the character. “Clarence has this love for this girl and wants to show her that he can be something in life. And when you leave, you want to leave a mark, like, ‘I’ve done this.'”
He adds, “Clarence was always a good guy … this is not a redemption tale. He’s always been a good guy from the beginning. He just wanted to be seen, and he wanted to make something of himself.”
Jay-Z tells Ebony that characters like Clarence in the film, which takes place in biblical times, should be brought to the forefront of storytelling.
“If we got rich characters and we find the story, let’s tell the story,” he says.
The Book of Clarence is now playing in theaters.
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