Episode 481 – Bronzeville with LaRon and Lahmard Tate

Bronzeville is a story of the Great Migration: it follows Jimmy Tillman (Larenz Tate), a papermill worker from Arkansas who kills a strikebreaker and flees to Chicago to find a new life for himself, tracing the steps of millions of Black Americans who migrated from the rural South to the urban North in the mid-20th century.

Jimmy makes his way to Bronzeville, the legendary Black neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side, where he falls in with the Copeland family, the operators of a policy racket—an underground lottery—that functioned like a bank when white-owned banks wouldn’t lend to Black people. Everett Copeland (Wood Harris) is doing a spell in federal prison for tax evasion, so he asks his old lieutenant Curtis “Eyeball” Randolph (Laurence Fishburne) to get back into the game.

(Yeah for real this is a star-studded episode! I can scarcely believe it myself.)

We play episode 1 of Bronzeville, and then I talk to two of the producers, LaRon and Lahmard Tate, about the show’s origins, productions that are too Black for TV, and the Tate family’s Chicago history.

CW: violence, racist language

HEY ALSO we have a PayPal button that I forgot about? Give us dollars, please.

Credits inspired by Zev Chevat.

  • Dunori Pavalan

    I’ve been waiting for this… admittedly I haven’t heard all of the other almost 500 episodes on RDR, but from those I have along with getting no response to my own submission had me thinking Afro-American themed shows were not allowed. Perhaps the apparent change may be at least partially because of the Tate brothers being officially big time in show biz? Whether that is true or not, hopefully you all will now be willing to consider publishing more drama by and about people of colour.

  • finalrune

    Hi Dunori, Thanks for chiming in. This is tough feedback to hear. This show is built around the idea of sharing excellent audio drama, Bronzeville is clearly excellent audio drama. The cold reality is that there just aren’t that many producers of color in the medium. The medium desperately needs more diversity and we’d like to promote/support that however we can.

    This is going pretty far back but Reginald Nelson’s show in 2011 (The Primordials) I think was the first Producer of Color we featured here – http://www.radiodramarevival.com/episode-245-primordials-dark-urban-fantasy-dram/ – not great record there either since the show had already been in production for 4 years at the time, but, we really loved what we heard from Reginald, fresh and original take on a familiar genre.

    In terms of your show, I will check in with the editorial team and see what happened, we do get hundreds of shows from around the globe and it is a challenge to sort through them all. I encourage you to re-submit and I’ll be sure we earmark it this time.

    Regards,
    Fred

  • Dunori Pavalan

    Thanks Fred for the Primordials link. I enjoyed listening to it very much… too much perhaps because it ended up being somewhat of a tease: after hearing it I searched quite a bit for more episodes in the series but was unsuccessful. I suppose it may justify an apology for some of my last comment and if so… my bad. Perhaps you all can add another sub-genre on the right called “Ethnically Diverse” (or something similar), and place Primordials, Bronzeville, along with any other posts over the years applicable in it seeing as other of your listeners may share my opinion on it’s importance?

    My submissions are at http://www.dmvaudiotheater.com.

    DVP