Video premiere: Misty Boyce, ‘Charades’

Misty Boyce (Photo by Davy Greenberg)

The song “Charades” is the exclamation point on the biggest statement of singer-songwriter-keyboardist Misty Boyce’s solo career, her 2020 album “Genesis.”

Ostensibly a breakup song, the tune takes on deeper layers of meaning in the subtly devastating new video directed by Oren Brimer and starring Lia Bonfilio as a woman whose outer elegance belies an inner ugliness. The setting is an upscale home in the woods, where Bonfilio’s protagonist fusses over any detail that might seem out of place.

“The character thinks she really knows herself and her goodness,” Bonfilio says, “but she’s just not who she thinks she is.”

It was Bonfilio who extrapolated the song’s original intentions and saw an opportunity to make a statement about white privilege. Longtime friends, Bonfilio and Boyce joined a group in the summer of 2020 that explored and discussed the ways white supremacy showed up in their lives.

It’s there in the opening lyrics: “You wanna make amends / You wanna make up for your sins with champagne / But talk ain’t worth a lot if you won’t change,” Boyce sings as the woman sets about her daily routine, only to be distracted by an unsightly tree in the yard.

“The woman is just so unaware of how much power she wields because of her whiteness,” Bonfilio says. “Her fixation is on [the tree] as the thing that’s not exactly how she wants it to be. It’s in the way of her feeling how she believes she’s entitled to feel. She’s dangerous.”

As the song builds to its climax, the woman marches outside and takes an axe to the tree, shattering the serenity with violence.

Says Boyce: “This is the first video I’ve ever made that I wasn’t a part of in the boots-on-the-ground way.” Boyce says. “It was really cool to see my friends and strangers take this idea and run with it and birth something.

“Any art that inspires new art is such a privilege to be a part of.”

||| Watch: The video for “Charades”

||| Previously: “I Do”

||| Also: Stream “Genesis” in full