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Bitter Fruit

Music Video / Short Film

Director, Editor, Set Design, (Singer)

Runtime: 3 min 4 sec
Strange Fruit might have been the first Billie Holiday song I ever heard, which started a long love affair with her voice and catalogue. Years later, I discovered Strange Fruit began as Bitter Fruit, an anti-lynching poem written by a Jewish New York high school teacher named Abel Meeropol, who wrote it in response to visiting the South in 1937. This fact propelled me to create this project. Maybe because I’m Jewish, or maybe because there always seems to be some kind of kinship (or perhaps a commiseration?) between the Jewish and African American community.

In my research, I read Maria Delongoria’s dissertation, Stranger Fruit: The Lynching of Black Women, which included a long appendix filled with names, each a recorded case of a black female lynching victim. The practice of record-keeping of unspeakable atrocities was immediately reminiscent of  the Holocaust and the meticulous records kept by the Nazi, which one might argue, was the most damning evidence used in the Nuremberg trials. The subject matter of this paper helped focus the film on lynched women, which I feel are the least discussed lynched population. The names of all of the lynched women were built into the set.