JAY-Z: Family Feud ft. Beyoncé
Arts & Entertainment | National

Native actress Irene Bedard lands role of co-president in star-studded video

It's 2444 and the co-president of the United States is a Native woman

Irene Bedard among star-studded cast in new video
By Kevin Abourezk

A star-studded new video from JAY-Z features the legendary Native American actress Irene Bedard, who plays the role of a United States co-president in the year 2444.

The Inupiaq, Yupik, Cree and French Canadian woman – the voice of Disney’s Pocahontas – shares a scene in Family Feud with actress Jessica Chastain and actor Omari Hardwick, who plays the role of the other co-president.

The video is set in a time when the United States has realized the importance of a balance between men and women. Households are headed by women in a society reimagined by a coalition of women known as the Founding Mothers, a nod to the original Founding Fathers.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay directed the video, which features a host of recognizable faces, including Rashida Jones, Brie Larson, Rosario Dawson, David Oyelowo, Michael B. Jordan and, of course, JAY-Z’s better half, Beyoncé.

In her scene, Bedard listens to a question from Chastain about a murder that occurred in the family of her co-president. Bedard offers a defense of the family and even speaks a Lakota phrase.

“We have worked and fought side by side for generations,” she says. “Mitakuye oyasin. We are all related.”

In the scene, Bedard is adorned with facial tattoos and a beaded necklace. In a post on Facebook, she described the tattoos as "futuristic Yup’ik and Inupiaq" and the necklace as Cree.

Bedard also wrote about why DuVernay asked her to take part in the video.

“She specifically wanted a Native American woman to play the role of co-president of the United States,” Bedard wrote on her Facebook page. “Now THAT’S an awesome vision!”

She wrote that the video has received positive reviews.

“The response to this video has been amazing! Quyana!” she wrote. “I can’t begin to name all the incredible people working on this project. Beyoncé, anyone?”

DuVernay wrote on Twitter that she enjoyed being able to portray a country run by co-presidents, including a Native American.

“We had fun dreaming this up,” she wrote. “This country will not stay the same.”

As of the morning of January 8, the video had racked up nearly 4 million views on YouTube. It originally debuted on TIDAL, a music steaming service owned by JAY-Z, on December 29, 2017.