Global superstar Ed Sheeran and Atlanta-based rapper Russ celebrate success and the lavish life in the music video for their new collaboration, "Are You Entertained."
However, their collaboration wouldn't have been possible without… pasta.
In a comment shared on YouTube, Russ explained how his split-second decision to introduce himself to Sheeran while dining in a restaurant led to a beautiful friendship, an intoxicating song and ultimately a celebration of life for their friend and creative partner, who passed away before being able to direct their music video.
"I'm so grateful for this moment," Russ began. "I walked up to Ed at a restaurant (Carbone) and assumed he didn't know who I was. Just wanted to introduce myself and say what's up. Next thing I know, I'm eating pasta and drinking wine at his table talkin' bout everything. Fast forward, and we had this song."
The pair wanted to shoot a video together, so Sheeran introduced Russ to Jamal Edwards, a "brilliant visionary and special soul who wrote the treatment for the video."
"We went back and forth on ideas, and we were all super excited," Russ continued. "The day before we were supposed to fly out to London, we got the tragic news that Jamal had passed away."
In his heartfelt comment on YouTube, Russ explained that although he was unable to meet Edwards in person, the director left a lasting impression on him.
"I had never met Jamal other than those emails. But, I can tell he was a special person," he shared. "The way Ed, Jamal's mother Brenda, his sister Tanisha, the director Jake Nava, the producer Ali and everyone else who worked on this rallied together and still wanted to make Jamal's vision come to life showed the impact he had."
Throughout the finished music video, Sheeran and Russ channel Edwards' creative vision for the song, showing off private jets, luxury cars, swanky VIP clubs, while simultaneously celebrating vitality, blessings and friendship.
Watch Russ and Ed Sheeran's "Are You Entertained" Music Video:
Russ explained that all he wanted to accomplish with the video was to "make sure I did my part in facilitating making this exact treatment come to life."
"I'm just beyond grateful that all of y'all let me be a part of something so special. Special thank you to everyone who made this happen and thank you to Brenda Edwards for being such a warrior of love and light. RIP Jamal Edwards," Russ concluded his statement.
In a heartfelt post shared to Instagram, Sheeran echoed Russ' sentiment with a moving tribute to his friend.
"I felt so sad on the day, but very proud," the musician wrote. "I wish Jam was here to see it, I wish we’d done it together, but he would be buzzing how all his people came together and brought his vision to life. Russ, thanks for being such an amazing human, and thank you to everyone who made this video happen. Jamal lives on forever."
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