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Russell Simmons along with director Jason Zeldes and cast of Romeo Is Bleeding premiered the must see documentary that tells the story of how Donté Clark  and Raw Talent rewrote one of the most famous and tragic plays “Romeo and Juliet.”

After reading the play, Donté had an “aha moment” of how it related to his life and the conflict he faced in the ‘hood daily. He wanted to get a message out that made sense for the people of Richmond to address the gang problems in the city.

The feuds go back to the era of the 70’s and have people in Richmond hating someone from the other side of town enough to get revenge anytime, anywhere  even in churches and hospital rooms. Hopefully this documentary will make the residents in many inner cities such as Richmond, CA look at life in a whole new light and realize the destruction violence and drugs are causing to the community.

The event held at the Montalban Theater in Hollywood, CA was filled with great energy and positive vibes from the RAW Talent poets featured in the film. Looking at them and speaking to them, you would never know that they are from an area that is undocumented on paper so that the police can say that the murder rate dropped, a place where the air is contaminated and asthma is double the national rate, or a location where some kids aspire to be successful drug dealers to be someone important. As the cameras follow Raw Talent leading up to opening night we see the late night production meetings, we see the poets writing their own dialogue to tell the story from their perspective, and then tragedy happens.

When Donté gets the news, I saw the optimistic Donté Clark turn cold as his support system pushes him to keep going although he is hurting.

He knows he can’t walk away or give up and that the show must go on. The Internal conflict of losing so many friends to jail and guns and wanting to retaliate as well as trying to make a positive change shows that no matter how bad you want revenge, it never ends the cycle.

It always continues until more people like Donté Clark, D’neise Robinson, Molly Raynor and DeAndre Evans, who were all a part of the project, say enough is enough, let’s make change.

The Raw Talent crew is doing just that and they have plans to take the show on the road but until then make sure to go see “Romeo Is Bleeding” opening in theaters on July 28, 2017 and on VOD on August 1, 2017.

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