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A closer look at the incredible, inspiring women in Drake's 'Nice for What' video

Leading actors, directors, writers, models, a ballet dancer and more all appear in the video directed by Toronto's Karena Evans.
A still from the music video for Drake's Nice for What, directed by Karena Evans. (YouTube)

Drake recently released what is sure to be his next number one song. "Nice for What" sampels Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor," mixes it with a New Orleans bounce beat and uses it as a jumping off point to rap about female empowerment.

"Workin' hard, girl, everything paid for, first, last phone bill, car note, cable," Drake raps. But if that wasn't enough, the song has been paired with a video featuring 15 powerful, inspiring women from all walks of the arts and entertainment world. It was also directed by Toronto's very own Karena Evans, who was most recently behind the camera for Drake's last video, "God's Plan."

Below, we take a closer look at the star-studded cast.


Olivia Wilde is the very first person you see in the video, just as we hear the voice over from New Orleans legend Big Freedia. "@champagnepapi got all the ladies together for a dance party," she wrote on Instagram. "Directed by the incredible 22 yr old wunderkind badass @karenaevans_. Turn it up LOUD."


Misty Copeland is the very first African-American principal dancer at New York City's prestigious American Ballet Theatre. She's been held up as a role model for inspiring young black girls to follow their dreams, and TIME named her one of the 100 most influential people in 2016.


Issa Rae first became known for creating the YouTube series Awkward Black Girl. That lead to her creating and starring in the HBO series Insecure, with Forbes naming her to the 30 Under 30 list back in 2012. She's been working behind the scenes to give more people of colour representation in the entertainment industry, and will play an activist in the upcoming film, The Hate You Give.


Rashida Jones played the beloved Ann Perkins on Parks and Recreation, but the Harvard grad has more recently branched out into writing and directing, including Hot Girls Wanted, a documentary that looks at the role of teenage girls in adult films. She appeared in Jay Z's "Family Feud" video, which also included a surprising number of A-list artists in it, including Michael B. Jordan, Jessica Chastain, Thandie Newton and Mindy Kaling.  


Jourdan Dunn is a British actress who, in 2008, became the first black model to walk a Prada runway in over a decade. She's also appeared in music videos for Beyoncé, Kanye West and Katy Perry.


Tracee Ellis Ross is best known as the hilarious matriarch, Dr. Rainbow Johnson, in Black-ish, for which she won a Golden Globe. Her YouTube alias, T Murda, also once took on Drake's "6 God."


Tiffany Haddish is a comedian and actress who starred in the breakout comedy Girls Trip, but also really stole the stage at the Oscars when she and Maya Rudolph hilariously commented on the racial diversity at the award show. 


Yara Shahidi is an actress, model and activist, best known for her role on Black-ish and starring in it's spin-off, Grown-ish. The 17-year-old founded the eighteenx18.com, geared at encouraging teens to vote for the very first time. She also attends Harvard and included a letter of recommendation from Michelle Obama on her application. No big deal.


Zoe Saldana is a bit of an action icon, starring in works such as Avatar, Star Trek, Colombiana and, most recently, Guardians of the Galaxy, to name a few.  


Swedish twin models Elizabeth and Victoria Lejonhjärta, 25, appeared in the booklet for Drake's 2016 album Views. They made headlines in 2015 when they posted a photo with him on their Instagram, captioning it, "that time we got some Canadian dude drunk and had him get a tattoo of our name."


Letitia Wright starred in what is currently North America's third highest grossing movie of all time, playing Shuri in Black Panther. Before that, she starred in the "Black Museum" episode of Black Mirror, as well as Top Boy, the British show that was cancelled after two seasons, but which Drake loved so much he helped get a third season for as executive producer. 


24-year-old actress actress Bria Vinaite played Halley in the 2017 film, the Florida Project, which Drake has called "one of my favourite things I'd seen in a long time, just because it taught me something about a world I would never think of and what it was like to live there," he told the Hollywood Reporter.


Emma Roberts has been acting since she was nine (her father is actor Eric Roberts, making Julia her aunt), and has released one album of music under Nickelodeon's record label. She most recently played the starring role on the FOX horror-comedy show Scream Queens and is currently shooting a new thriller, Paradise Hills, in Spain.


Singer, songwriter and producer Syd, born Sydney Bennett, started off in the Odd Future collective, but split from the group in 2016 and has gained critical acclaim for her solo work and as a member of L.A. group The Internet.


Michelle Rodriguez, who can be seen levitating at the end of "Nice For What," is best known for her work with the long running Fast and the Furious franchise. She recently took a stand for her female castmates (and lack thereof), threatening to walk away from the film if they didn't "show some love to the women of the franchise."

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