PLAYING DETROIT: Silence Is The Noise Shares Beautiful Visual for “Nappy”

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.

PLAYING DETROIT: Silence Is The Noise Uplifts Black Women With “Nappy”

Detroit-based singer-songwriter Silence Is The Noise (Jewell Bell) has returned after a three-year hiatus with “Nappy,” a striking “love song for black women.” The song is a positive, empowering ode dedicated to uplifting black women and celebrating physical characteristics that have “historically been derided by white supremacy and make black women who they uniquely are.” Bell uses her soulful voice – which can hold a candle to the greats like Nina Simone, Beyonce, and Jill Scott – to embolden black women around the world.

“I am all too aware of the invisibility and marginalization of black women,” says Bell. “In writing ‘Nappy,’ I felt like it was something that I would not only want to listen to and feel strengthened by, but also for the women whom I love as well as black women globally. That affirmation of our beauty, strength, humanity, and visibility has always been a driving force in my life.”

“Nappy,” which was written and arranged entirely by Bell, touches on both the physical and intangible characteristics of black women. In the chorus, Bell sings, “I’m happy to be nappy/Thicker lips, thighs, and ass cheeks/Got soul that has carried me this far.” The message is simple: no matter what society or anyone else has told you, you’re perfect the way you are. Bell’s soul is evidenced in her gorgeously gritty voice, brushed with the wisdom of the world and personal experiences that have only made it stronger.

After making time for grieving and self-care following some personal losses these past three years, Bell is back stronger than ever and ready to share her voice with the world. She says the time off helped her grow as an artist and plans to follow up “Nappy” with an EP later this year. Listen to the single below.