Award-winning music producer J Rhodes discusses his latest film “It’s a Wonderful Fate”
After working with notable artists in the music world, Justin L. “J” Rhodes, who has won coveted awards (Billboard, Stellar and Dove) and is a platinum music producer from Dallas, Texas, is now making his debut. mark in the film industry with a film called “It’s A Wonderful Plight”. BLACK COMPANY spoke with Rhodes about the transitions he encountered, why he created his latest film, and what he’s working on for the future.
You are an award winning music producer who has worked with such figures as Dr. Dre, Styles P, Rick Ross, Royce Da 5’9, Talib Kweli and LeCrae to name a few. With your success in music, what motivated your transition to film and television?
In the end, as successful as I have been, producing for other artists is great… but the waiting game is what killed me. There is a feeling of helplessness in creating something and then hoping that an artist will use it. Once a distinguished person enjoys your music and wants to use it, there is a feeling of euphoria. Once the money is paid and the trail goes off a bit, you are back to the game of waiting. With cinema, there was so much freedom and control on a daily basis in the process. Every day is a journey, not just the end result. Cinema is also a place where ALL my talents can live. The production, the writing, the rap, the soundtracks, the acting, the editing, my comedic timing, my ability to tell a story… they can all live in one place and I love it. It was ultimately a natural progression. I’m still in the music business, but now the job comes to me instead of looking for it, so there’s freedom in that as well.
It’s a wonderful spell is gaining significant audiences in the film community as it delves into many societal issues such as gentrification, systemic racism, micro-aggression and the inequalities that plague our communities on a daily basis. What inspired you to make this film?
I just want to approach the age-old conversation about the plight of African Americans in a unique way. We were accepted to the American Black Film Festival in 2019 for a musical visual on a song I created called MakeItTakeIt. He attacked over 400 years of systemic black oppression in America. I was at the ABFF awards show, and I was like “Hey, if they like this song so much, and if we do a musical with various similar songs, kinda like a Christmas carol awake.” Then the title “It’s a Wonderful Fate” immediately came to mind. And two years later… here we are.
What advice would you share with those looking to get into the creative industries?
Make sure you like what you are doing. So cliché, but if you love it and feel it and tell YOUR story your way… success and money will come.
Not only are you a seasoned producer and director in the music industry, but you are also an editor, sound designer and film composer. How important is it for someone to be flexible and versatile in business?
I think this is VERY important. The more you are able to navigate creative vehicles, the easier it will be to move your projects forward. I will however suggest MASTERY in something before you make it an official hat. Master at least one thing first and don’t try to learn everything all at once. Learn one instrument, then learn another in substance.
What is on the horizon for upcoming projects or entrepreneurial initiatives?
I always produce music for your favorite artist, so stay tuned for new things on that. I am currently creating music for an IAWP suite. Once the music is finished, I’ll start to flesh out the script, but a sequel is in the works. I’m also working on new music for myself and for other promising independent artists who are sounding impeccable right now!