A music video created by two-time Emmy Award winner Renee Sotile, formerly of Penfield, is a focal point of the new exhibit at the Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
The exhibit memorializes the 25th anniversary of Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder. It opened two days before what would have been the victim’s 60th birthday.
The ex-wife of NFL football star OJ Simpson was stabbed to death along with her friend Ron Goldman on June 12, 1994. Five days later, OJ Simpson and his friend led police on an extraordinary pursuit along southern California highways in a white Ford Bronco. The Bronco is already a part of the museum’s collection. The new temporary exhibit is called “Passion for Life: Nicole Brown Simpson,” and includes artifacts that belonged to Nicole and highlights the four-minute music video called “I Remember Nicole.”
“We wanted to turn the focus on Nicole’s story and how devastating the fear of domestic violence can be, as well as celebrate the special person Nicole was to so many,” explains Rachael Penman, director of artifacts and exhibits at Alcatraz East Crime Museum.
“I Remember Nicole” is described as a global anthem reclaiming power over domestic violence. The music video depicts scenes from demonstrations around the country and in Charlotte as protestors hold up signs that encourage victims to reach out for help and to love themselves. No one was ever convicted of Nicole Brown Simpson’s murder, but O.J. Simpson was found liable for both deaths in a civil suit and there was documentation that she was a victim of domestic violence.
“I wanted to use Nicole as a symbolic nexus to bring people together and raise awareness of this horrible epidemic,” says Sotile, who went to Webster schools, graduated from SUNY Brockport and worked as a videographer at WHEC-TV. In 1995, as a freelancer, she covered the OJ Simpson trial and met members of the Brown family. She never forgot the impact Nicole’s death made on her and decided in 2017 to produce a music video. In creating the original song, Sotile and her partner, Mary Jo Godges, paired with Nashville songwriters Pat and Pete Luboff.
“We felt the lyrics and the music meshed really well with the strength of the people depicted in the video. We hope it serves as a call to action to help reduce the devastating impact of domestic violence,” says Sotile. The video can be easily accessed on YouTube and the website iremembernicole.com.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 1 in every 4 women and 1 in every 9 men experience severe intimate partner physical violence. The exhibit includes information about how to get confidential help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
The temporary exhibit will be on display for three months. Also included are photos from the Brown family, favorite pieces of Nicole’s clothing, Chanel jewelry, a place setting of her china that reflects her love of entertaining and a handwritten poem that Tanya Brown read at Nicole’s funeral.
Tanya, Nicole’s youngest sister, also appears in the beginning and end of the music video. “I am touched that there is a chance to honor Nicole’s memory with this exhibit to bring the issue of domestic violence to the forefront.”