Directors Statement for ‘Jesse Belvin: Mr. Easy’

garyFour plus decades ago, or as far back as I can remember the sounds of Jesse Belvin playing over the record player was like soft velvet melody’s to my ears.  In fact I initially thought that Frank Sinatra, was Jesse Belvin, when I heard his music playing.  My house would be filled with Jesse Belvin’s music played by my mother, and then in came his son Jesse Belvin Jr. and my mother told me “That’s your Uncle your listening to.  That’s Jesse’s father”.
Being told about the man, the myth, the legend I always kept his music close to my heart and soul, as he was a part of my heritage.  My cousin, Jesse Belvin Jr. would eventually find out more about his father, as he got older, and he continued to share his stories with me.  In fact, the stories were so vivid and spectacular in my mind that it all seemed like something out of a fairytale story that never made its way to that happy ending.
Jesse Belvin is not mentioned in any of the music hall of fames in particular the Rock N Roll museum, and has been forgotten, so I was destined to do the next best thing a filmmaker could do – make a movie.  I decided to let the world know about the amazing music that Jesse Belvin composed and sang so that he would no longer be the forgotten one.
I made Jesse Belvin: Mr. Easy to tell the real story about this music legend and how his life was tragically cut short from the ignorance of hatred and racism.  In fact, there are other theories of how his life ended at the tender age of 27 but I will let history be the judge of that.  Jesse Belvin: Mr. Easy challenges the assumptions that separate but equal was supposed to be an acceptable part of being a Negro in the 1950’s.  Unlike other films that often feature or show Dr. Martin Luther King leading the way for Civil Rights telling the world how to deal with racism and an unfair/unjust society, Jesse Belvin: Mr. Easy brings out the magic of what music can do by crossing color lines. 
Jesse Belvin AlbumJesse Belvin: Mr. Easy not only features Belvin as a musical genius, but also through virtually every account of Jesse Belvin’s rise from a West Coast iconic singer of extreme fame and popularity, to his ground-breaking contract with RCA Victor Records in 1959, no one mentions the presence and guidance of his beloved wife, Jo Ann.  The fact is, Jo Ann Belvin had studied the music industry, and knew that no one was concerned about Jesse’s career, unless it meant dollar signs for them.  She definitely eased the others away from Jesse, and began guiding his moves.  She always traveled with him. That was unheard of, even in the 1970s and 80s. But in 1958, 1959… it just didn’t happen.
My hope with Jesse Belvin: Mr. Easy is to broaden the knowledge of the world as to who this brilliant man was to the music industry that came out of Los Angeles, California.