153 episodes

I SEE U is a unique, award-winning program that gives voice to those who have often been unheard. Hosted by Houston Public Media’s Eddie Robinson, I SEE U explores cultural identity through the stories of people and places that have been transformed by the effects of long-standing biases. Eddie guides fascinating conversations with newsmakers who share their personal histories, their struggles and their triumphs. In listening, we learn to empathize and hopefully experience a few ‘a-ha’ moments for ourselves.

I SEE U with Eddie Robinson Houston Public Media

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 21 Ratings

I SEE U is a unique, award-winning program that gives voice to those who have often been unheard. Hosted by Houston Public Media’s Eddie Robinson, I SEE U explores cultural identity through the stories of people and places that have been transformed by the effects of long-standing biases. Eddie guides fascinating conversations with newsmakers who share their personal histories, their struggles and their triumphs. In listening, we learn to empathize and hopefully experience a few ‘a-ha’ moments for ourselves.

    120: The Quiet Storms of Luther Vandross with Filmmaker Dawn Porter

    120: The Quiet Storms of Luther Vandross with Filmmaker Dawn Porter

    Legendary singer-songwriter Luther Vandross pioneered a golden age of silky-smooth R&B and passionate slow jams. In addition to countless hits and platinum albums, he earned eight Grammy Awards, including ‘Song of the Year’ in 2004 for “Dance With My Father” – a track that was released while he was hospitalized after suffering from a stroke. He studied from the best at a young age, spending hours watching and recreating the routines of Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick that he saw on television. He wrote, arranged and sang back up for David Bowie, Chaka Khan, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand and Roberta Flack, before finally deciding to step into the spotlight as a solo artist.Despite his success, the powerhouse balladeer had a very public struggle with weight, especially with an unforgiving media fixated on image. He was also dogged by constant questions over his sexuality, despite pleas to respect his privacy. It’s hard to believe that a man responsible for some of the most beautiful ballads ever recorded had a difficult time finding true love in his own life. Nonetheless, Vandross persevered with an unprecedented work ethic and an unrelenting spirit to succeed.Join I SEE U as host Eddie Robinson chats unguarded with award-winning filmmaker, Dawn Porter. Her latest documentary, Luther: Never Too Much, has received critical acclaim for uncovering details of Luther Vandross’ life previously unknown to even the most die-hard fan. Utilizing a hefty trove of archival footage and rare rehearsal recordings, Porter allows Vandross to tell his own story with assistance from his closet friends and collaborators, including Warwick, Mariah Carey, Marcus Miller, Richard Marx and Nile Rodgers. With the recent news of CNN Films and OWN acquiring the film, the director chronicles for I SEE U the triumphs and tribulations of an extraordinary vocalist who grew up admiring the heroines of ‘60s music royalty to become one of the most influential and decorated artists of the last few decades.

    • 52 min
    119: A Resurgence of Ballet Royalty – Legendary Dancer Lauren Anderson

    119: A Resurgence of Ballet Royalty – Legendary Dancer Lauren Anderson

    Ballet traces its origins to the 15th century and the Italian Renaissance. But the art form has continued to evolve, with choreographers and dancers creatively incorporating new interpretations reflective of contemporary culture. Despite its evolution, today’s ballet still lacks dancers of color, especially in principal roles.Trailblazer Lauren Anderson was one of the first Black dancers to climb the ranks to become the principal dancer at a major ballet company. Though it’s been 34 years since she made history in that role, Anderson tells I SEE U that while progress has been made, more needs to be done so that young people of color can feel like they belong in this industry. She admits that more ballerinas of color are, indeed, taking lead roles – but too often, preference is given to light-skinned dancers. Anderson, who is dark skinned and has a muscular physique, was told as a teen that she didn’t fit the right look of a ballerina – despite being recognized as a huge talent at a young age.Stay tuned as host Eddie Robinson chats unguarded with the first African American Principal Dancer with the Houston Ballet, Lauren Anderson. Born and raised in Houston’s Third Ward, the iconic dancer reveals how she dealt with discrimination, which led her to unhealthy coping mechanisms due to the pressures of perfection. While she almost lost her way because of addiction, Anderson is now celebrating 14 years of sobriety as she continues to educate and mentor students on their quest to achieve their own hopes and dreams.

    • 52 min
    118: A Life of Empathy, Family and Community – Actor & Producer, Luis Guzmán

    118: A Life of Empathy, Family and Community – Actor & Producer, Luis Guzmán

    Despite a highly successful acting career with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Luis Guzmán never really wanted to be an actor. He was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Loísada, the name given to Manhattan’s Lower East Side by the massive working-class Puerto Rican community that migrated to New York in the 1950s. Loísada was also a hot bed for activism, with residents coming together to fight against discrimination and for better housing and working conditions. Guzmán admits to I SEE U that his calling was to be a social worker as he embraced the culture and spirit of his community, working extensively with youth to enhance their lives and help guide them to their own aspirations.Guzmán started performing in popular street theater as a hobby to showcase his acting ability through the art of social and political advocacy. To supplement his social work with more cash, he also appeared in several indie films, including his first movie role in 1977, Short Eyes—a prison life drama written by close friend and playwright, Miguel “Mickey” Piñero. Co-founder of the Nuyorican Poets Café, a haven for Black and Latinx artists and activists, Mickey even helped him land a role on NBC’s Miami Vice in 1985—a role that would change Guzmán’s life forever. 50 years and nearly 200 film and TV projects later, his comedic brilliance and authentic bravado have positioned him to become one of the most renowned and recognizable actors around the world.Join us as host Eddie Robinson chats with award-winning actor and producer, Luis Guzmán, from his farm in Vermont. The veteran performer reminisces on his family and how paying a phone bill as a young adult led to finding his biological father in Puerto Rico. Plus, Guzmán shares an incredible moment of vulnerability as he remembers his friend, the late Robin Williams—one of the greatest comedians of all time—and recalls how his death by suicide over a decade ago still affects him to this day.

    • 52 min
    117: Ain’t We Lucky We Got Thelma from ‘Good Times’… Actress Bern Nadette Stanis

    117: Ain’t We Lucky We Got Thelma from ‘Good Times’… Actress Bern Nadette Stanis

    In 1974, CBS premiered Good Times, a TV sitcom that would showcase the first Black mother and Black father on screen – two parents, trying to make ends meet, while raising three children. Set in a public housing project in the south side of Chicago, Good Times elevated stories of struggle – the joy, the pain and the dreams of a determined Evans family during the economically turbulent 1970s. With legendary producer Norman Lear at the helm, the program would be one of three of the top ten rated shows with Black casts on American TV at that time – the other two gems were Sanford & Son and The Jeffersons.But there were many, including actors on these shows, who believed that producers equated the black experience with poverty and that too often writers pushed negative stereotypes and tropes, especially after the progress in civil rights of the previous decade. Times also weren’t all that good for the Black creators of Good Times, Eric Monte and Mike Evans – both men struggled with Lear to receive recognition for their work.
    In the last 50 years, we’ve seen a (mostly) upward trajectory of positive Black representation in film and television – from the likes of The Cosby Show to Abbott Elementary or HBO’s Insecure. Despite this advancement, negative stereotypes persist – and a new animated reboot of Good Times on Netflix is igniting fresh criticism, with many viewers saying the show promotes an image of Blacks as criminal, prone to violence, uneducated and hypersexualized. Would a reboot of a classic sitcom with an all-white cast like The Brady Bunch or Leave It to Beaver receive the same kind of treatment today?Join us as I SEE U host Eddie Robinson chats with the actor who portrayed the first Black teen on network television – Bern Nadette Stanis, who starred as Thelma, the daughter of the Evans family in Good Times. Stanis shares her thoughts on the adult reboot and how she felt misled after portraying one of the characters in the modern series. Plus, Variety TV critic, Aramide Tinubu, provides her perspective on why Hollywood still refuses to let go of outdated and harmful depictions of American Black life.

    • 52 min
    116: America’s Legalized Corruption with Legal Scholar Mehrsa Baradaran

    116: America’s Legalized Corruption with Legal Scholar Mehrsa Baradaran

    Celebrated author of the award-winning book, The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap, Mehrsa Baradaran states that when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863, Blacks had 0.5% of the nation’s wealth. This statistic makes sense, since Blacks weren’t allowed to own capital as enslaved people — their bodies were, indeed, the capital used to develop lending in this country. Fast-forward more than 160 years to today, Black households currently have a total wealth of just over 4% - not much growth, especially when U consider that one-in-four Black households overall have no wealth or in debt, compared to about one-in-ten U.S. households.    What if our nation’s financial systems were rigged — not by evil puppet masters or villains — but by law-abiding judges, lawyers, policy makers and lobbyists? In Baradaran’s latest book, The Quiet Coup: Neoliberalism and The Looting of America, the acclaimed professor of law at the University of California, Irvine argues that our political and economic systems of government have shifted in recent decades to yield more complex laws and regulations designed to benefit the rich and powerful—while at the same time, proclaiming smaller government and less regulation. The result has been a large section of Americans left poor and disenfranchised. Join us as I SEE U host Eddie Robinson chats with one of our country’s leading intellectuals and legal scholars, Mehrsa Baradaran. We examine how the Civil Rights movement and the push for economic justice by Black activists led to a so-called neoliberal movement. Baradaran explores this ideology of neoliberalism and explains how it infected our politics to ensure and maintain a dominant system of economic power over democracy – a movement she says is far from over, and even accelerating. 

    • 52 min
    115: A Nation with No Name… with “LatinoLand” Author & Acclaimed Journalist Marie Arana

    115: A Nation with No Name… with “LatinoLand” Author & Acclaimed Journalist Marie Arana

    There are 64 million Latinos in the United States – nearly 20% of the population. By 2050, it’s projected that a third of the country’s population will be Latino. But despite being such a significant part of the country, Latinos are still often viewed as being immigrants, not fully American – even though they’ve been a part of American life for centuries. Join us as host Eddie Robinson chats candidly with renowned author and journalist, Marie Arana. Her latest book, LatinoLand: A Portrait of America’s Largest and Least Understood Minority, draws from hundreds of interviews and expansive research that not only examine the diverse background of the fastest-growing minority in this country, but also the importance of understanding their history and contributions to this country. Arana, who also served as the inaugural Literary Director of the Library of Congress, shares her own provocative story from growing up in Lima, Peru to arriving in Summit, New Jersey in the wake of the murder of Emmett Till – an African American teen whose death reinvigorated the Civil Rights Movement. She tells I SEE U that Latinos have largely been invisible with a cultural influence that has for too long been dismissed or hidden from public view. Her mission is to encourage all Americans to discover more about this burgeoning population—while the Latino community grapples with understanding its own past, its promising future and its inherent power.

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

EastEnder53 ,

Wow!

This show is always interesting. Love it!

JAJCRUZ ,

Very Houston!

I learn so much about my city and love hearing the myriad of experiences and perspectives 🥰

Palmitas7 ,

💛

Unique guests, unique stories, unique takes! Enjoy every episode!

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