Russell Simmons discusses must-see documentary ‘Romeo Is Bleeding’

Russell Simmons discusses the documentary Romeo Is Bleeding (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for Steed Media Service)
Russell Simmons discusses the documentary Romeo Is Bleeding (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for Steed Media Service)

Romeo Is Bleeding is a heart-wrenching documentary that brilliantly switches between the real life of Donté Clark and his desire to produce a stage play titled Té Harmony. The play documents the continued violence between North Richmond and Central Richmond in California as its backdrop.

Rolling out spoke with executive producer Russell Simmons, director Jason Zeldes, and Clark earlier this week about the documentary.

Zeldes discussed what makes the story so powerful. He said, “I think that Richmond, the city (Donté) comes from, is a microcosm for what a lot of America is dealing with. Every state has a city like Richmond, if not several cities like Richmond. So the story that Donté is telling applies across the country.” New York, Chicago and Baltimore are just a few cities where residents can relate to this story.

One particular line in the film that resonated with me came from D’Neise Robinson, who plays Harmony in the film, discussing how women from her neighborhood are viewed. She said, “I feel like people have stereotyped us so much that it’s like, ‘How can you love something that’s broken and doesn’t want to be loved?’”

I asked both Simmons and Clark what they hope audiences take away from the documentary.

“I hope that they feel what I felt, which is a person undergoing a transformation and then that transformation, when they see it, inspires them to evolve, as well,” Simmons said.

“You are powerful. All your power comes from your thoughts. If you can think it, and you speak it into existence, and you believe it in your actions, it’ll manifest. So you have to want better for yourself,” Clark said. “And if you want better, think better, speak better, and move with that intention, and we can change the world. But it starts with you first.”

Romeo Is Bleeding opens in limited release tomorrow, Friday, July 21, and in more cities Friday, July 28. To learn more about the film, visit

Derrel Johnson
Derrel Johnson

Lover of Christ, sports, hip-hop, my native home of Harlem and much more. IG @JazzJohnson1 Twitter @JazzJohnson10 Facebook @JazzJohnson100

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

Join Our Newsletter

Get the latest news from Rolling Out.