If you’ve ever been to jail, whether as a visitor or an inmate, you are aware that it is a place no one desires to be. The establishments are often cold, dirty, and dangerous; forcing many inmates to adopt aggressive and psychological tactics just to survive the soul-crushing conditions.
Cellus Hamilton, a hip-hop artist who has spent many years serving those locked away in the prison system, has done something revolutionary with his latest video release. Hamilton, who partnered with the Shining Light organization, decided to lend his voice to an inmate who has been voiceless and lonely for the past twelve years. The prisoner, recognized as Cheo, has a deep love for hip-hop and has coped with his 15-30 year sentence by writing raps behind bars. After connecting with Cellus, Cheo handed over his precious lyrics; requesting that Hamilton would bring his music to life in the world outside of prison.
Cheo rapped and shared his vision with Cellus Hamiton through a zoom call broadcasting from a Pennsylvania prison. Hamilton captured a series of audio voice notes of conversations with Cheo as well as the audio of Cheo banging his fist on the prison table to mimic the drumbeat. Hamilton then enlisted the work of producer Von Vuai to recreate Cheo’s beat as he recorded Cheo’s lyrics over it.
Cellus Hamilton then shot a corresponding music video which was organized by Shining Light. Shining Light plans to distribute this music video to several jails across North America so that many inmates in the prison system may be encouraged by Cheo’s words. The video depicts the lack of freedom and lifestyle of Cheo as it has been for the past twelve years.
Longing to see his family, prove to the world that he has changed, and defeat his demons of guilt are what make Cheo’s words so powerful. This is a video sure to resonate within many lives and hearts, particularly those who have horrific experiences or connections with the prison system.
Source: Cellus Hamilton
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