In a gorgeous, aesthetically-pleasing video by James Madison University's a cappella group Note-oriety, the all-female singers perform a stunning rendition of Beyoncé's emotional song, "Pretty Hurts."
With darker lighting and multiple change of scenes, the video "encourages people to look deeper than society's view of perfection," according to WHSV.
Zoe-Elizabeth McCray, a senior at the university and the group's music supervisor, tells A Plus that she arranged the piece after hearing the song quite literally playing over and over in her head.
McCray says that this particular song resonated with a lot of the girls in the group, including herself.
"I grew up in an environment where I looked a lot different than a lot of my friends," McCray tells us. As a tall, African American growing up in a white suburban area, she learned to accept her differences.
"This is who I am. My differences make me a part of who I am," she says.
In the video, visuals and text work together to examine how society affects not only our understanding of one another, but of ourselves too.
At the start of the video, Note-oriety passes out mirrors to fellow JMU students, who are not actors.
The students are prompted to respond to the question: What are words people use to describe you?
The negative responses are telling...
Holding the mirrors up to their faces, the students reveal negative words that society has used to describe their characters.
They show answers like "self-conscious," "anxious," "pushover," "boring," and "awkward."
McCray tells A Plus that the purpose of holding the mirrors above one's face is to reflect today's judgmental society. Moreover, when people start to hear these negative judgements repeatedly, they start to believe that is who and what they really are.
As the touching video progresses, the students are given the opportunity to describe themselves in an empowering, true way.
They see themselves in the mirrors as people who are "whimsical," "thoughtful," "genuine," "strong," and "confident."
"We know that you guys are strong and confident and we want to help you see that in yourselves," McCray says, directing her statement people in the video and beyond.
And the message has certainly reached a lot of people.
For instance, McCray says that she received an emotional message from a mother that brought her to tears.
The mother's note read: "I have a daughter who's far too young to understand this message now, but I'm going to show it to her when she's older so that she knows she's beautiful."
Throughout the entirety of the captivating music video, Note-oriety hits every gorgeous high note, solo, and harmony — a feat worth noting considering the group took on a song by The Queen B.
McCray says that today's generation has the power to help each other feel more confident, and she hopes this is communicated through the video.
She believes that people look internally to help themselves. "But I think [it's about] being able to sit down with our friends and be honest with them."
Guys don't matter, looks don't matter, she says. "You are what makes you you are. We all have to be honest with ourselves" rather than putting up a facade.
And perhaps most importantly, McCray reiterates that we all need to encourage each other to remind ourselves that we're beautiful.
Note-oriety is one of nine a cappella groups on JMU's campus, and they're not the most well-known, according to McCray.
But seeing this video take off proves something: "With every little platform we have here, let's use it to do some good," McCray adds.
Be sure to watch and share the full video below: