JAY-Z is back on Instagram — hopefully for the long-term this time.
After deleting his Instagram account two years ago, the 53-year-old made his return to the social media platform on Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, the rapper is only following one person, his wife of 15 years, Beyoncé. (The Renaissance singer follows no one on her official account.)
JAY-Z’s first and only post on the platform is the trailer for the upcoming film, The Book of Clarence.
Lakeith Stanfield stars as the streetwise but down-on-his-luck title character, who is just a regular guy living in Jerusalem in 33 AD, and struggling to find a better life for his family, while fighting to free himself of debt. When he crosses paths with the one-and-only Jesus Christ himself, he decides to forgo devoting himself to the higher cause of the rising Messiah and His apostles. Instead, Clarence risks everything to carve his own path to a divine life by becoming a messiah himself.
The trailer features a reimagined version of Prince’s Purple Rain classic, “I Would Die 4 U,” over scenes from Clarence’s spiritual awakening, including one scene in which a Roman soldier asks Clarence to prove his Messianic powers by walking on water. “Damn,” Clarence says before taking the first step.
The Book of Clarence features a star-studded cast, including Omar Sy, Anna Diop, RJ Cyler, David Oyelowo, Micheal Ward, Alfre Woodard, Teyana Taylor, Caleb McLaughlin, Eric Kofi-Abrefa and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, with James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch.
JAY-Z serves as an executive producer for the flick, which was directed by Jeymes Samuel, who also helmed the JAY-Z-produced Netflix film, The Harder They Fall.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair published on Monday, Samuel said that he set out “to tell a Bible story about an everyman.”
“I always wanted to explore the Bible stories, but from the angle of the person that sells Jesus his sandals, the woman or man that owns the hair salon,” the musician and filmmaker explained. He went on to describe Clarence’s journey in the film as one “of self-belief and world discovery.”
“I think a lot of us have the issue of not only outside belief, but inside belief,” Samuel added.
JAY-Z told the outlet that he worried people who heard the premise might “immediately just focus on the religious aspect of it and not the human story,” with the piece noting that the film doesn’t make fun of religion or Biblical stories, but “rather attempts to expand that world.”
“This story is about a young man who finds his faith through love and through wanting to become somebody in the world, which is the story of everybody,” JAY-Z said. “Everyone wants to find love and everyone wants to leave this place having accomplished something, having left their mark that they’ve been here and hopefully affected the world in a positive way.”
The film’s soundtrack will feature new music from JAY-Z, Samuel and more artists.
Ironically, when the “Holy Grail” rapper first joined Instagram back in November 2021, it was for similar reasons. He briefly joined to promote The Harder They Fall on his feed and Instagram Story, just like he did for The Book of Clarence.
He had amassed over 1.8 million followers by the time he deleted his account a day later.
At the time of publication, his revived account has garnered over 38,000 followers.
The Book of Clarence premieres exclusively in theaters on Jan. 12, 2024.