Justin Simien, the creator and director of “Dear White People,” has been tapped to direct an untitled project at Warner Bros. about “The Mother of Hip-Hop,” Sylvia Robinson.
Robinson, who started her career as a singer in the duo Mickey and Sylvia, went on to become a prominent record producer, writing and producing for artists such as Ike and Tina Turner, Kid Rock, P. Diddy, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.
She founded the record label Sugar Hill Records in the 1970s, named after the affluent African-American Harlem district, with husband Joe Robinson and was responsible for helping to bring rap and hip-hop into the mainstream.
Robinson’s initial cut of The Sugarhill Gang’s iconic song “Rapper’s Delight” was a whopping 15 minutes long.
Famed producer Paula Wagner, who last produced 2017’s “Marshall,” acquired Robinson’s life rights from her son Joey Robinson five years ago. Sylvia Robinson died in 2011.
The film’s script was written by Tracy Oliver, Malcolm Spellman and Carlito Rodriguez and is a rags-to-riches story about how Robinson blazed a trail as a female record producer and music mogul in a male-dominated industry.
Justin Simien has been one of Hollywood’s most interesting young black filmmakers since his 2014 film “Dear White People,” which he wrote, produced and directed. The film, which helped to launch the career of Tessa Thompson, tackled issues of race, identity and politics. It grossed roughly $5 million on a $1 million budget and spawned a Netflix series as well.
Simien is currently filming a horror comedy he wrote called “Bad Hair” and starring Laverne Cox and Vanessa Williams.