Nationwide — Deborah Jane, the screenwriter and Executive Producer of Strange Fruit: The Hip-Hopera, is the first Black woman filmmaker to ever produce a cinematic Hip-Hop-musical. Her groundbreaking film recently celebrated its Red Carpet Gala and Film Premiere held at the Frida Cinema in Santa Ana, California. The event was a unique milestone, not merely a single evening of celebration, but the start of a series of vibrant gatherings aimed at promoting global racial reconciliation.
In an ongoing journey to produce Strange Fruit as a feature film, the Red Carpet Gala showcased a compelling Antebellum slave scene from the film — a spellbinding dance shot in the cotton fields of Georgia. The movie’s storyline follows LaShelle Robinson, a modern African American Wall Street executive, who embarks on a historical journey to lift an ancestral curse by rescuing her enslaved ancestor from a lynching. The premiered scene, “Hear the Cry,” left a profound impression, capturing the raw emotion and strength that embody the narrative of Strange Fruit.
Simultaneously, the event marked the official launch of House of Deborah Jane Studios, a multicultural film studio dedicated to championing diverse voices in cinema and making a social and spiritual impact in the world. The studio opens in the heart of Orange County and has partnered with local church, The Sound in Santa Ana. They are actively raising funds to continue the production of Strange Fruit into a feature film.
Sponsors, including Uncle Nearest Whiskey and the Orange County Community Foundation’s African American Alliance Fund, added to the vibrant atmosphere. The gala was a stunning spectacle of glamor and celebration, with over 150 attendees, who included community leaders and entertainment professionals, dressed to impress.
Cyndi Galley, the evening’s host, linked the legacy of jazz pioneer Billie Holiday to the present day, highlighting how Deborah Jane is fighting for social justice through musical cinema. The evening also included a Broadway-style concert showcasing the 20-year journey of Strange Fruit from an unsettling nightmare to a groundbreaking cinematic experience.
One of the most transformative moments of the recent gala was when Unity Day LA CEO Ray Adamyk washed the feet of the event’s Producer Recio Young, then humbly asked for forgiveness for the pain his ancestors had inflicted upon African American people, demonstrating the power of these gatherings to promote healing and unity.
This memorable evening served as an invitation for more film premieres to come. Future galas will feature industry-leading speakers and panels focusing on the pressing issue of racial reconciliation in our nation. These discussions aim to ignite thought-provoking perspectives on the role of art and cinema to advance social justice and educate on American history — particularly in the wake of shootings and school bans on Black literature.
To keep the dialogue alive, House of Deborah Jane Studios plans to launch a Strange Fruit College Tour featuring bold cinema, dynamic performances, and, of course, conversations around race. Including the next generation in their social mission, allows the film to speak to both society’s past and present, celebrating our resilience while acknowledging our struggles.
To ensure this vital work continues, House of Deborah Jane Studios is asking for contributions to the production of their feature film via its GoFundMe page. Each donation allows the narrative to unfold, the conversations to continue, and our collective understanding to grow.
To stay updated about future events, contribute to this revolutionary journey, or book a racial reconciliation talk, send an email to email@example.com.
House of Deborah Jane Studios is a multicultural film studio with a mission to produce compelling films, TV, and music that champion the diverse voices often marginalized in society. The studio is committed to making a social and spiritual impact through cinematic storytelling. Learn more about the film at StrangeFruitHiphopera.com