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I SEE U with Eddie Robinson

News & Politics Podcasts

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.


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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.






81: A Mistranslation of Biblical Proportions with Documentarian Sharon “Rocky” Roggio [Encore]

Nearly 80 years ago, a group of Yale scholars decided amongst themselves to add the word, "homosexual," in the Bible after mistranslating Greek text. Researchers have said this mistake changed the course of modern history as we know it. The misinterpretation also caused a lesbian Christian to explore this incident and earn the trust of those same researchers by capturing their discovery on film. Join us as host Eddie Robinson speaks candidly with Sharon "Rocky" Roggio, the director behind the controversial film, "1946: The Mistranslation That Shifted Culture." Roggio provides I SEE U with an in-depth look at how this misinterpretation came about and what the evidence from the translation committee revealed. We'll also learn more about how she navigated through her own religious environment as well as her desire to change a narrative that speaks to all LGBTQ individuals being acknowledged as equals – and not be seen as "others," or "less than." Despite the documentary receiving backlash from religious writers who, according to the director, haven't seen the film, "1946" has already picked up praise and several prestigious awards during its festival circuit quest.


86: Glynn Turman is The Glynn-aissance Man [Encore]

Legendary actor Glynn Turman remembers a time when hardly any Black men or women were prominently featured in television. Over six decades later, he's played hundreds of characters in film, TV and on-stage, including work as an acclaimed writer, producer and director – both in theater and television. Notable roles include the 2020 Netflix film, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; the FX drama series, FARGO; more recently, the Paramount sports comedy, 80 for Brady, and an upcoming biographical film, Rustin, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama's production company, Higher Ground. His acting career started as a 12-year-old, when friend of the family—esteemed playwright, Lorraine Hansberry—asked permission from his mother to star alongside Sydney Poitier, Louis Gosset Jr. and Ruby Dee in the original Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. But it was his movie role in 1975's Cooley High, that he admits to I SEE U of his defining moment as an actor. Join us as host Eddie Robinson chats candidly with celebrated actor, Glynn Turman. The Emmy Award winner will share riveting stories and narratives of how he's managed longevity in the industry. Turman will also offer up a preview of his new documentary, his love and passion for horses as well as his fondest memory of being married to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.


101: Sylvester Turner: Mayor of Heaven, Hell and Houston

Four of the largest cities in the United States are currently run by African Americans. What do you think this says about our nation when four prominent, elected officials of color have been chosen and trusted to lead four of the biggest metropolitan regions of the country? And out of each of these four mayors: Eric Adams of New York City; Karen Bass of Los Angeles; Brandon Johnson of Chicago; Sylvester Turner is the only top city administrator who still resides in the same community where he grew up—Acres Homes, a sprawling working-class neighborhood in northwest Houston that’s predominantly Black. What do you think this says about him and his character? Join us as I SEE U travels to City Hall where host Eddie Robinson speaks candidly with the chief executive officer of the city of Houston – Mayor Sylvester Turner. As the former lawyer wraps up his two-term tenure in office, Turner reflects on his life, his career in politics and how his upbringing prepared him to take on persistent issues and majors challenges of a Democratic blue city that’s deeply rooted inside a Republican red state. He also candidly reveals the complexities of his relationship with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and why he hasn’t directly communicated with him for over two years.


100: Victoria, Texas—A Town Like Yours

In January of 2017, a mosque in Victoria, Texas was set on fire just hours after then-President Donald Trump signed a controversial executive order restricting migration from Muslim-majority countries. Victoria law enforcement officials and conservative town administrators were quick to praise local Muslim leadership for not jumping to conclusions that this fire was intentional. How can this “praise” be interpreted? Some might argue and see it as community leaders being passive or docile to avoid fueling a political firestorm. But after six years of reflection and the release of a documentary that explores the burning of the Victoria Islamic Center, the arsonist and the aftermath from the incident—what will it take for a quiet religious community to survive a hate crime? Join us as host Eddie Robinson speaks candidly with award-winning filmmaker, Li Lu—director of the PBS docu-series, A Town Called Victoria. In this 100th I SEE U episode recorded live in front of a sold-out studio audience at the historic DeLUXE Theater in Houston’s 5th Ward, Eddie leads a provocative panel conversation with Lu, along with Muslim American community members of Victoria and Houston as they reveal unguarded perspectives about their experiences in the years after the blaze. Can collective healing and restorative justice ever exist in this divisive town? I SEE U panelists include producer/director, Li Lu; Victoria Islamic Center members: Abe and Heidi Ajrami, Dr. Shahid Hashmi, Omar and Lanell Rachid; along with Houston-area filmmaker, Fatima Hye.


29: Civil Whites Movement [Encore]

During the Civil Rights Movement, not only did African-Americans fight for equal protection under the law, but White Americans were also risking their lives in the name of social justice. Some were even murdered for participating in marches and protests aimed at ending segregation and racial discrimination. But in today's political climate and divisiveness, how come more White Americans prefer to remain silent on measures that support systemic change to end racism? Host Eddie Robinson returns from paternity leave and chats candidly with Joan Mulholland, the first White member of the historically Black organization, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Her son, Loki Mulholland, who's an acclaimed film director and human rights activist, Mac Hulslander—the father of I SEE U's Technical Director, Todd Hulslander—offer up their own perspectives in this very provocative episode.


58: Slavery Ties That Bind Freedom [Encore]

Betty Ann Kilby and her family were terrorized when they defied their local school board and the governor of Virginia to desegregate the only high school in their county in 1959. And yet, nearly 50 years later, in 2007, she was willing to talk to a descendant of a family who had once enslaved her ancestors. It was a defining move reminiscent of a well-known quote in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's ‘I Have a Dream' speech of 1963. The passage read in part: "I have a dream that one day... the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit together at the table of brotherhood." Join us as two courageous women take a seat at the I SEE U table of sisterhood and chat unguarded with Host Eddie Robinson about the power of forgiveness, acceptance and reconciliation. "Wit, Wills and Walls" author, Dr. Betty Kilby Fisher Baldwin, reveals to I SEE U surprising details never-before-told of her personal life; and Phoebe Kilby, co-author of the book, "Cousins," candidly shares her own insight into attitudes toward reparations and how White Americans whose families owned slaves grapple with stories and narratives of descendants who are now starting to trace their hidden histories linked to some form of enslavement.


78: Say It Loud! Woosah! [Encore]

Zee Clarke received her Harvard MBA and spent over two decades leading teams at FORTUNE 500 companies and tech startups. But after instances of being racially-profiled, experiencing microaggressions at work and even being harassed by police, she realized how breathing exercises were so critical to her mental health – not only to survive, but to also thrive in a world that felt slow to change. Through her holistic training in India, Clarke felt a passionate desire to share these practices with others, particularly Blacks – since researchers have linked systemic racism with ailments related to high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety and depression among communities of color. Join us as I SEE U's Eddie Robinson chats unguarded with Zee Clarke, author of the book, "Black People Breathe." The acclaimed writer shares breathing techniques and tips as well as illustrates some exercises for the host to try out. She also describes how to identity notions of family-inherited trauma and what tools could be useful to help end the cycle of suffering.


99: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner with Karen? with Authors Saira Rao and Regina Jackson

As a group of white women sit at a fancy dining room table, sip wine and pass the breadbasket ready to eat, another woman—the only Black woman at the table—asks a stunning question to the guests: “How many of you would trade places with a Black person in this society?” The silence that instantly hovers over the dinner crowd was not only deafening but also revealing. Entrepreneurs Saira Rao and Regina Jackson have designed a program that radically educates a specific group of individuals who they say are directly responsible for the racism and discrimination happening in this country. Their unique tactic is to facilitate honest conversations and sometimes uncomfortable dialogue over an illustrious dinner. These powerful dinner experiences offer up an opportunity for white women to acknowledge their own racism and how they benefit from white privilege—regardless of a political party affiliation. Join us as I SEE U host Eddie Robinson chats candidly with New York Times best-selling authors, Saira Rao and Regina Jackson, for a provocative discussion about their no-holds-barred campaign. We’ll learn more about their Race2Dinner movement, as well as take a deep dive into their latest book, “White Women: Everything You Already Know about Your Own Racism and How to Do Better,”—which serves as a call to action to those who are looking to take the next steps in dismantling white supremacy. Both Rao and Jackson have also released a documentary available on Apple TV and Prime Video entitled, Deconstructing Karen, where viewers become a “fly on the wall” during one of these eye-opening dinners.


98: A Kindred Spirit in Kendrick Scott

Renowned composer and drummer Kendrick Scott is putting anecdotes of his learnings from mentor and distinguished trumpeter, Terence Blanchard, into action by leveraging his musical gifts into a visceral artform of healing and redemption. Through original music mixed with poetry and striking visuals, the multimedia event entitled, “UNEARTHED,” featured Scott collaborating with former Houston poet laureate, Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton, the acclaimed Harlem String Quartet along with a trio of talented jazz musicians. Hosted by the arts organization, DACAMERA, the production served as a tribute to the tragic history behind “Sugar Land 95,” the collective name given to the 94 Black men and one woman who were part of a state-run convict leasing program of the late 1800s following the abolition of slavery. Their bodies, buried in unmarked graves, were discovered five years ago during an excavation project in the now trendy suburb of Sugar Land, Texas. I SEE U ventured offsite to tour an exhibit of the Sugar Land 95 Memorial Project in Episode #46. Efforts to expand the memorial are currently underway with the construction of an outdoor learning area and a revitalized cemetery slated to be completed by 2025. In this week’s episode, host Eddie Robinson chats in-studio with Houston-native, Kendrick Scott about his decision to shed light on an untold, dark history. We’ll hear exclusive audio excerpts from the one-night-only event which premiered in May at Houston’s Wortham Theater. Scott also shares inspiration behind the creation of his band, Oracle and reveals how the pandemic, the quarantining, as well as the isolation all played a significant role in the recording of his latest Blue Note release, Corridors. Check out our companion Spotify playlist that celebrates acclaimed composer, drummer and Houston-native, Kendrick Scott. This playlist includes Scott's many inspirations, current collaborators and heroes.


97: A Million Ways To DEI with Esteemed Professor Kathleen McElroy

Kathleen McElroy was tapped to lead a new journalism program at her alma mater—Texas A&M, a university that boasts the largest student body in the entire country. Her experience included decades at the New York Times and a reputation for promoting diversity in the workplace. With fanfare usually reserved for college coaches and athletes, McElroy’s signing ceremony took place in the center of the campus not too far from a prominent former Confederate general’s statue—Lawrence Sullivan Ross. But the university buckled under backlash. A watered down job offer fell apart and was ultimately rejected after powerful individuals close to A&M expressed opposition over her previous work in diversity. Consequently, a forthcoming state law banning diversity measures at public colleges has only added more political fuel to a controversial fire. So did it take a million dollar settlement for regents to get the result they eventually wanted all along? Join us as I SEE U host Eddie Robinson talks candidly with UT-Austin’s Journalism Professor, Dr. Kathleen McElroy. She opens up about her quest for encouraging young students to pursue journalism in helping them find their own unique voice in becoming accurate, unbiased storytellers. McElroy also explores how growing up in Third Ward, Houston provided a sense of empowerment that would essentially shape her into the celebrated woman she is today.


96: Beyoncé, Send Us a Revival with New York Times Business Reporter Jordyn Holman & Cultural Historian Harrison Guy

The Renaissance World Tour is an energetic, visual, two-and-a-half-hour musical journey, showcasing the latest album of award-winning singer-songwriter, Beyoncé. The event has broken ticket sales records worldwide with each performance stimulating regional economies along the way. Running almost parallel with Beyoncé’s tour is pop singer Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, which pays homage to her own musical career and has also garnered unprecedented success in ticket sales and global economic impact. But with the Renaissance tour, Bey’s performances speak more to notions of identity and race, where past and present traumas of being Black, being gay and being unnoticed are transformed into a cultural vibe that embodies inspiration, freedom of expression, purpose and personal empowerment. Join us as host Eddie Robinson pays tribute to the Houston native and chats candidly with New York Times business reporter, Jordyn Holman, along with Harrison Guy, founder of Urban Souls Dance Company. Holman shares her insight into why there’s an interest in comparing these two female trailblazers in pop culture. Guy, who’s also an acclaimed choreographer, offers up perspective into the person who inspired the energy behind the Renaissance album—Uncle Johnny, a gay man who helped raise Beyoncé and her sister Solange as young girls but died from complications related to HIV. Legendary Houston DJ Tony Powell also makes an I SEE U appearance to share historical color and context to a vibrant, liberating vintage Bayou City that existed within the Black queer community.


95: Houston’s Emancipation Street Blues with Documentarian Drew Barnett-Hamilton

Houston is home to the most successful musical talent in the world. But decades ago, the city was once the epicenter for the blues genre. Why has the city’s blues history been neglected for so long? Stay tuned as host Eddie Robinson chats unguarded with acclaimed filmmaker, Drew Barnett-Hamilton. Her new documentary, When Houston Had The Blues, is currently touring the festival circuit with an astonishing goal of putting the city of Houston on the map as a major music city. The film explores the blues scene and culture from back in the day – from Texas bluesman and guitarist Sam “Lightnin’” Hopkins; superstar singer Bobby “Blue” Bland; to renowned blues saxophonist Grady Gaines and influential songstress ‘Big Mama’ Thornton – even rock pioneer Little Richard signed a recording contract with a label based out of Houston. Barnett-Hamilton takes I SEE U on a vintage musical journey that showcases the artists, the performance venues, and the Bayou City’s unique role in defining this remarkable genre.


69: Black Men On The Cutting Edge [Encore]

For decades, barbershops have served as special places for people of color. The barber plays a major role in not only providing hair care services, but for many Black men, in particular, this person is responsible for how their customers are viewed and seen by society. Notions of identity, appearance and character are often assessed, evaluated, measured—even stereotyped by the way a Black man's hair is styled or fashioned. But what happens when haircutting suites and brick-and-mortar barbershops become safe havens? These establishments bring a unique sense of energy and refuge where Black men turn to for comfort, networking, career insight, health advice and gossip – a destination where they can discuss anything, from sports to politics—and not have to worry about being discriminated against or humiliated. Join us as Host Eddie Robinson takes I SEE U away from the broadcast studio and into Ken's Kutting Shoppe – a Black-owned barbershop and hair salon located near NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The owner, Ken Hicks, as well as one of his employees, Derrick Williams, share their stories of overcoming obstacles and a deadly pandemic all while transforming the lives of Black men (and their hair) for nearly 30 years.


94: Bi Now, Play Later with NFL Veteran R.K. Russell

Former NFL player, Ryan Russell, tells I SEE U that he feels there is an imbalance in male athletics where society does not encourage, support or sustain LGTBQ+ youth in sports, much less create safe space environments early in their development. His latest memoir, “The Yards Between Us,” has allowed him to reminisce on narratives of his own past—of growing up in conservative Dallas; shy, loving the game but struggling with expectations of being Black in the South; and learning to hide things about himself while playing as a defensive lineman for the Dallas Cowboys, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills. Stay tuned as host Eddie Robinson chats candidly with author and social justice advocate, R.K. Russell, who made history by becoming the first out active athlete in the NFL to identify as bisexual. He explores the notion of why players are, at times, showered with support from the league and teammates after coming out but then later find themselves unemployed. Russell, whose boyfriend is a professional dancer, also shares personal insight on interracial relationships and whether the stigma around couples of different races and ethnicities remains.


93: To Dream a Relatable Dream with Acclaimed Producer Mike Jackson

With a successful career in entertainment alongside his business partner, EGOT-winning musician John Legend, renowned producer Mike Jackson tells I SEE U he has a responsibility to bring multicultural content to global audiences. The Philly-native has produced countless projects with major networks, including ABC, NBC, FOX, HBO, Showtime, Netflix and FX. But what obstacles can exist in film, TV and theater pitch sessions when more diverse projects are shunned or snubbed by studio, production agents and network executives? Join us as host Eddie Robinson chats candidly with Emmy® and Tony® Award-winning producer, co-founder and managing partner of Get Lifted Film Co., Mike Jackson. He shares insight on how he’s been able to navigate through instances of prejudice and exclusionism as he continues his work of elevating Black artists and Black voices through different forms of media and digital platforms. Jackson, who now calls Austin his home, reveals his key ingredient to telling a remarkable story and provides details on a discussion series that he leads for people of color and underrepresented communities in media hosted at the Moody College of Communication at the University of Texas called, Why Not Me? Our unguarded conversation also explores the intentions and motives behind Jackson’s ambitions and whether he’s leveraged the star-power of established entertainer, John Legend, to achieve his own personal success as an award-winning producer.


92: Here I Am with Rice University President Reginald DesRoches

Reginald DesRoches, the eighth president of one of the most prestigious universities in the country, recently completed the first year of his historical post. The Haitian-native is the first Black president, the first immigrant and the first engineer to ever lead Rice since the founding of the university in 1921. But the history of Rice is a bit complicated and very controversial. Join I SEE U as host Eddie Robinson chats candidly with the Chief Executive Officer of Rice, Dr. Reginald DesRoches. A university that once banned Black undergraduates from attending, DesRoches shares his feelings about leading an institution whose founder, William Marsh Rice, profited from the slave trade. With DesRoches establishing the first Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Rice, a private institution, he offers up his perspective as to why state lawmakers are looking to dismantle those same offices at public universities across Texas. Plus, we learn more about his mentor—the former president of Prairie View A&M University, Dr. Ruth Simmons—and the role she’s played in his career since his arrival at Rice in 2017. A pioneer in higher education herself, Simmons now serves as the President’s Distinguished Fellow and Advisor at Rice.


91: What It Means To Be OTHERED with ‘The Blackening’ Actress Grace Byers

Renowned actress Grace Byers embraced her leading role in the hit summer comedy horror, The Blackening. “Allison” – an outspoken, no-nonsense character from the film – was very proud of her Black heritage; that role has served as a replicate of who she’s become as a proud Black woman of empowerment. Her children’s books, “I Am Enough,” and “I Believe I Can,” remained on the New York Times best-sellers list for months. But for a long time, Byers, who was raised in a multicultural household, struggled with her own sense of identity and the pressures of society trying to define her. Stay tuned as host Eddie Robinson chats unguarded with acclaimed actress and celebrated author, Grace Byers. The new mom shares with I SEE U the challenges of navigating through her journey of being both Black and white; being Caymanian and American; and being of the deaf and hearing cultures. Byers also offers up an intriguing look at how her recent birth has admittedly overwhelmed her mentally and physically – providing moments of candid reflection as she comes to grips with her health all while showing a vulnerable ‘grace’ under pressure.


90: More Than Meets The Eye with Transformers Director Steven Caple, Jr.

Award-winning film director, Steven Caple Jr., is fresh off his summer box office success with Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t have a massive portfolio of blockbuster films under his belt. But with this accomplishment for a major Transformers franchise comes a tremendous responsibility for an incredibly gifted, Black filmmaker in the competitive world of cinema. Join us as host Eddie Robinson chats candidly with acclaimed film and television director, producer and screenwriter, Steven Caple, Jr. The Cleveland, Ohio-native calls his unguarded chat with I SEE U: “therapy—but in a good way.” He dives deep into his own journey of what led him to pursue filmmaking as a career. The first generation college graduate also shares insight into his own unique style of visual storytelling and what he believes to be actual road blocks within the industry for directors of color.


87: The Souls of Russell Hornsby [Encore]

Whether he’s acting in a film, on-stage or involved in a television series, Russell Hornsby ends up delivering a powerful performance full of emotion with a genuine passion for the craft. In a career spanning over two decades, his extensive portfolio includes the infamous boxing promoter, Don King, in Hulu’s “Mike,” the Oscar-nominated Paramount film, FENCES, opposite Denzel Washington and Viola Davis; the Netflix drama series, “Seven Seconds,” with Regina King; and the devoted patriarch in the mega-hit STARZ series, “BMF (Black Mafia Family).” But in many of his roles, he plays the ‘angry Black father’ – a moniker he says is “misplaced.” Join us as host Eddie Robinson speaks unguarded with award-winning actor, Russell Hornsby, in one of I SEE U’s most provocative episodes ever produced. The NAACP Image Award nominee offers up fresh insight into how he’s managed to channel certain energies within himself to bring such an astounding presence and strength to his style of acting. Hornsby candidly admits that it’s these portrayals of fatherhood that speak to a larger sense of dignity, cultural worth and personal responsibility, especially in fatherless homes of today. Plus, the star describes what he believes to be the real reason behind the success of shows like BMF and the popular POWER franchise.


64: Pursuing A More Perfect Union with Legal Expert Jeffery Robinson [Encore]

Civil rights attorney, Jeffery Robinson, released a film in 2021 entitled, "WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA." In the documentary, Robinson addresses an audience onstage as if he's inside a courtroom, arguing a case on how grappling with racism is "our shared history." He challenges them to question why so many aspects of American history related to slavery, state-sanctioned violence and discrimination against Blacks had been forgotten or even hidden. Since the film's release, what inroads to racial progress have happened in the United States? Join us as I SEE U Host Eddie Robinson speaks unguarded with the founder and executive director of ‘The Who We Are Project,' an organization that tackles this country's history of anti-Black racism and white supremacy, Jeffery Robinson. A former ACLU Deputy Legal Director offers up a compelling look at the importance of reframing today's discussions around race and the implications of understanding what could happen if these hidden histories are suddenly revealed and circulated throughout communities across the nation.