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Soul City Cleveland

To ride the Underground Railroad, you had to punch your own ticket. No one could punch it for you, and the decision to embark was always an exercise in self-determination. The state of Ohio had a vast Underground Railroad system, with routes and exit points along Lake Erie. Self-determination was a moving force of the Underground Railroad, and it is a spirit that never left Ohio. Nowhere is that more evident than in Cleveland, Ohio; and perhaps nowhere has it manifested more than in the city’s soul music scene. Soul City Cleveland is director Fanon Hill’s love letter to soul music, Ohio, and the elder musicians who most embody its spirit of self-determination. Featuring legendary but unheralded artists and figures such as Eugene Ross, Lou Ragland, “Crazy Marvin” Braxton, Vel Scott, Art Blakey, and George Hendricks, Soul City Cleveland tells the story of Ohio’s Black music culture and its role in Cleveland’s prolific Black political organizing, while taking the viewer on a music-filled journey from Cleveland to Japan, the U.K and beyond.



The original motion picture soundtrack accompanying Soul City Cleveland is

written and produced by Fanon Hill, who also produced the original motion picture soundtrack for his previous film, Lom Nava Love. 


Proceeds from Soul City Cleveland: The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack will go towards food relief efforts for the film’s subjects who are currently without a means to earn a living as performing musicians.


“Soul City Cleveland,” the Debut Single from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack for the Soul City Cleveland Documentary is now available for purchase on Bandcamp. Click HERE to purchase the song.



Soul City Cleveland’s culturally-responsive education programs foster equitable access to cross-generational experiences in partnership with Cleveland Rocks: Past, Present & Future and The National Rites of Passage Institute.

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Through the generosity of people like you, we are able to raise important funds for Soul City Cleveland. Support our independent film through a tax-deductible donation today.


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Everything they play, everything they do, they do with soul.


Soul City Cleveland Gallery


From studio sessions with Jimi Hendrix, to navigating mafia-controlled clubs, to launching world-renowned independent record labels, Soul City Cleveland focal points tell the story of Black music in one of America’s most important musical cities.


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