RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert and producer/lawyer Brenda Robinson are special guests on the latest hour-long episode of filmmakers Jason and Yvonne Lee's podcast, "Lagralane Spirits," entitled, "The Roles We Play." It is the second episode of the podcast devoted to exploring "Passing," Rebecca Hall's acclaimed screen adaptation of Nella Larsen's book, for which Ebert, Robinson and Yvonne Lee served as executive producers. Below is a reprint of the episodes's synopsis...
We return to explore the theme of passing – and the duality of preserving one’s identity while being forced to navigate the world in certain ways. Joining us for this episode are producer and philanthropist Brenda Robinson and CEO and civil rights attorney Chaz Ebert. As Executive Producers on the film "Passing" (2021), Brenda and Chaz have so much to share on their respective roles, as well as the vital importance of the critically-acclaimed movie. Together, we examine systems of oppression and share personal stories of what we gotta do – and what we’ve had to do – to survive and thrive historically. We also examine Modern Day Passing and the many ways we might pass (intentionally or otherwise) outside of skin color.
In this mini-reunion, power-producers Chaz and Brenda join hosts Jason and Yvonne Lee share why they do what they do – and that is to lift and provide opportunity for voices of color working in film. By highlighting impactful projects like Rebecca Hall’s award-winning debut film, "Passing," to new projects like veteran Lisa Cortes’ documentary "Empire of Ebony" which covers 70 years of culture from Ebony and Jet magazines, we learn from the inside what it’s like to operate from what can often feel like the outside. We also learn that what matters in this industry is being empowered from within, showing up to the table as your authentic self… and knowing that the table you’re at is THE table.
In our very first episode with a delicious mocktail, we acknowledge the increasingly popular addition of inclusive mocktails as a beverage choice in social situations. Jason whips up a non-alcoholic French 75 and the conversation flows, as always. Knowing that modern-day passing takes on many, many forms, our guests also share personal stories of how passing has affected them and how it has shown up in their own families. Yvonne poignantly presents Chaz and Brenda with their confessional question, what more needs to be done so that people of color can show up authentically and not have to pass for anything?
Click here to listen to the full podcast episode, and here to find Part I of the podcast's exploration of "Passing," featuring Monique Marshall, anti-bias/anti-racist educator, and DeMille Halliburton, champion of access and equity.