A few weeks before sitting down and creating the storyboard/video treatment for my latest single “Do for Love”, one of my favorite artists began releasing videos from her, at the time, forthcoming album. Upon seeing the first video “Django Jane”, I was so inspired that I sent the link to award-winning director/cinematographer, Luner Eugene of Lunerversal Film. I excitedly explained how much I LOVED the imagery, especially the lighting! Janelle Monae can do no wrong. He shared my sentiments and revealed that he knew exactly where we could shoot, that I would love it.
We met at the location and it was a dream! I couldn’t believe how perfect it was. I have always had an affinity toward Old Hollywood Glamour. It isn’t Marilyn Monroe for me, although the location has tributary photos and memorabilia of the actress at every turn. The appeal is the purr and rebellion of Eartha Kitt. Dorothy Dandridge’s sensual and playful “Carmen”. Lena Horne’s grace. I imagine Lady Day’s “Summertime” on vinyl. Silk lingerie. Red lipstick. Sensuality. Soul. Woman. Goddess.
I needed all of that to be captured. To be read as Sheena O. Murray as Sheena O. Murray inspired by [insert aforementioned].
In front of my laptop, I knew that I wanted to display the duality of a woman quietly acknowledging and then dismissing her own desperation. I wanted to pay tribute to coveted aesthetics that existed long before I did. To pay homage to empowering black women who transcend space and time, whom I saw myself in. I wanted to respect my own artistry by authentically expressing my layers.
“Do for Love” is essentially a song about self reflection. “Oh my, oh my, who have I become?” is the triggering phrase that causes my subconscious to materialize. She is me with my Afro, minimal makeup, almost in my birthday suit. This is the part of me that occasionally wants to be free from my own desire to be adorned, whether it is with jewelry and makeup or with a lover. This other self chastises the self that fumbles over reason.
I’ve reconciled with myself that I am better than this moping and is seen in, what acts as, a throne. I sometimes caption photos “More Goddess than Queen”. I regard myself as the divine ruler of my life. I am more powerful than “queen”. This is my visual representation.
The challenge with creating this video was the budget. Experiencing my musical journey as an independent artist has the drawback of having to finance my endeavor with very limited funds. Gratefully, there are people who believe in me and my vision and we find a way to make it work, undeterred. I styled myself, did my own makeup, and was determined to prove to myself and others that whatever I do will always match the quality of my intentions. The challenges keep me grounded.
All thanks goes to Luner Eugene (@Lunerversalfilm), O’neal James, Sandra Justice (SandraJustice.com), and Chris Pope of Triple Platinum Photography for all of their hard work.
Stayed tuned for the official music video for “Do for Love” directed by Luner Eugene
(Photos by Triple Platinum Photography)