Detroit-based vocalist and songwriter Jewell Bell, who goes by Silence is the Noise. released a video for her single “Nappy,” which we premiered this May. Bell explains that the song is a “love letter to black women,” celebrating their strength and beauty. The visual is a flooring follow-up that sees Bell surrounded by five stunning African-American women, clad in minimal bodysuits, accentuating their natural beauty. Bell sounds and looks like a goddess throughout the video, switching between the same minimal look and a gorgeous custom pink tulle dress fit for a queen. The video is an empowering and magical depiction of black female friendship, beauty, and strength. We caught back up with Bell to discuss how her vision came to life.
AF: How did the concept and costuming for this video come together? Did you direct a lot of the creative vision?
JB: I mostly developed the concept myself, along with my friend and director who shot the visual, Justin Milhouse. I wanted it to embody a visualization of black women being centered and posed as art and the undeniability of Black beauty. The visual features myself and other Black women in various shades to showcase the diversity of skin tones and melanin. I love juxtaposing decayed rustic feels with gentility and femininity. My friend Nabeela Najjar, who’s a seamstress and fashion designer, helped construct a custom-made dress with lots of soft petals and even real flowers, which I felt tied perfectly into the location [where] we shot the visual, which was the Whittier Detroit. It was really nice to utilize the space of the Whittier, which in certain areas has really beautiful marble floors and old rustic and decayed architecture, so being able to tie those two themes together felt seamless.
AF: Who are the women in this video? How did you cast it?
JB: The casting honestly came very naturally considering that most of them are my actual friends. The visual features Tina Johnson, Alexis Braswell, Cyndia Robinson, Kesiena Wanogho, and Ja’del Hughes-Davis. They all are so gorgeous in their own right with beautiful natural hair and rich skin tones so featuring them felt effortless and I knew they would help bring the visual to life.
AF: Your voice, lyrics, and movements exude confidence. Have you always been so confident or was there a journey to getting there?
JB: Thank you, and no not always. It definitely has been a journey for me. Confidence involves the process of being comfortable and feeling whole in your own skin, so my confidence has definitely evolved and is still evolving as I grow, not only as an artist but as a person as well.
AF: What has the response to the song and video been so far?
JB: The response has been great so far! So many people have been sharing the visual on various social media platforms and messaging me letting me know how much it has impacted them. It’s my hope to just continue sharing and reaching as many people as I can because the message is so timely and also dear to my heart.