JAY-Z Explains How Saving His Marriage Set A Bigger Example (Video)

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In several hours, JAY-Z will learn if he is the winner of his first “Album Of The Year,” “Record Of The Year,” and/or “Song Of The Year” awards at tonight’s Grammy’s. 4:44, “Story Of O.J.,” and the title track are the vehicles that earned Shawn Carter his nominations. Aside from a “Best Music Video” win, all of Jay’s 21 trophies to date have been in the Rap and R&B categories. In a career that’s ushered Hip-Hop and lifestyle to the mainstream with class and authenticity, it is a big weekend for Jay.

Appearing on the launch episode of The Van Jones Show, JAY-Z spoke about his album and its inspiration. Earlier in the week, Van told Variety that he considers 4:44 a “social justice classic.” The interview has depth and rare access.

JAY-Z, Beyoncé & Blue Ivy Show How When A Family Feuds, Nobody Wins (Video)

In the program, JAY-Z spoke further about 4:44 and Beyoncé’s Lemonade putting a marital reconciliation in the public forum. Asked about why he fought so hard to keep his marriage (which celebrates its tenth anniversary later this year), Jay responds, “[Beyoncé] is my soul-mate, this person I love. You can love someone, and if you haven’t experienced love and you don’t understand it and you don’t have the tools to move forward, then you’re gonna have complications. Period. You can either address it or you can pretend [it is not there] until it blows up at some point. For us, we chose to fight for our love, for our family, to give our kids a different outcome—to break that cycle for Black men and women, to see a different outcome.” Flipping a commonly-quoted Reasonable Doubt lyric, JAY-Z also states, “We were never a celebrity couple; we were a couple who just happened to be celebrities. Real people.”

Picking up on a New York Times conversation from November, JAY-Z described how his marriage moved past the transgressions, which include infidelity. “The best apology is changed behavior. You also have to acknowledge the pain. You have to let that person have their say. You have to get on the floor, get on the mattress, and really work through it. You have to be honest no matter how many—it takes a while.” He adds, “The other side [of the reconciliation process] is beautiful, in our case.” Of Beyoncé, Jay says, “She’s the strongest woman I know. Her and my mother [Gloria Carter], they’re battling for #1 and #1.”

JAY-Z’s “Smile” Video Is A Tender Portrait Of His Mother’s Struggle With Her Sexuality

In a second clip (in the video playlist), JAY-Z describes the intuitions of his daughter Blue Ivy as represented in the Ava Duvernay-directed “Family Feud” video, and explains why he doubts the Carters will maintain a bond with the First Family during the Trump Presidency.

Van Jones is a Roc Nation management client. The author of several books, and advisor to President Barack Obama’s Green Jobs program was previously host of The Messy Truth With Van Jones and Crossfire, both on CNN.