Black History Month is always a great time to admire and reflect on great African-Americans who devoted their efforts to make a better today while creating history simultaneously. Especially within the music industry, African-Americans have seemed to dominate the landscape and be pioneers in different genres. But for every Sam Cooke and Nina Simone, there are local heroes within the community doing things that are being overlooked. This is where I introduce alternative R&B singer Convict Julie. At only 22-years-old, Convict Julie has led and organized over 100 consecutive BLM protests in Athens, Georgia. Recently, I was lucky enough to be given the early opportunity to view her visual album “Exquisite Pain.”
Fittingly named, “Exquisite Pain” does one hell of a job conveying the difficult process she had to go through, while the effects of protesting took a toll on her mentally. It chronicles all eight songs in different chapters. Each song feels as if it could stand by itself as a stand-alone music video, and each one brings something visually unique. Viewers are taken into the psyche of Convict Julie, showing that she lost certain parts of herself in the process and had to evolve into a new version of herself to keep progressing in this world. This short film excels at the film rule of “show don’t tell” by not overwhelming us with dialogue. Meaning you could literally watch it on mute and still be able to follow along. But I don’t recommend watching without volume because you would miss out on the powerful vocals accompanying the film. My favorite scene is the third chapter/song, “X.” The song lyrics can be described as full of agony and pain, and she conveys this in the scene when we can see the slow-degrading of her mental health due to narcotics she is consuming and the circumstances she is facing.
“Exquisite Pain” is an excellent introduction of Convict Julie to the world. If you are a fan of music videos that are conceptually more advanced and more than meets the eye, then this is most definitely for you. The potential is out of this world with Convict Julie, who could soon follow in the footsteps and has a similar sound/voice to superstar vocalist, The Weeknd.