Laurence Fishburne and Larenz Tate’s hit podcast, “Bronzeville,” returned last week for its second season. The six-episode scripted audio series is written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Josh Olson and chronicles the lives of players in the numbers game in the 1940s and illuminates the self-sustaining African American community of Chicago’s Bronzeville.
Tate and Fishburne also voice the series and are executive producers of the show as well through their respective companies, Cinema Gypsy Productions and TateMen Entertainment.
“Getting into the audio series world was something that came about simply because we were trying to get the concept of ‘Bronzeville’ sold,” Tate explained to The Root. “We had this great concept and we wanted to make this show about the fact that Black folks actually were able to see the American dream realized at a time where it was not imaginable. And our company, along with Laurence Fishburne’s company, went to every major network in Hollywood. They all loved the story, it was a great idea, but they got cold feet.”
Tate originally learned about the Bronzeville community from Quincy Jones and then started his research to bring the project together. “Bronzeville” has received over 20 million downloads so far and can be watched on all major podcast platforms including Spotify.
“We knew that the story needed to be told. That Black people — when we talk about the American dream, Black folks were self-sufficient in our own communities. [Look at] Bronzeville, Harlem, or Tulsa, Oklahoma,” Tate added to The Root. “We had economic infrastructure. We had our own businesses. We had our own newspapers. We had our own hospitals and department stores and local stores; all the things that communities are made of. And again, the folks in the industry just didn’t think there was an audience.”
The series also features Tika Sumpter, Mekhi Phifer, Kyla Pratt, LeVar Burton, Justin Kirk, Lalah Hathaway, Harold Perrineau, Skeet Ulrich, Lahmard Tate, Barton Fitzpatrick and Affion Crockett. New episodes air every Tuesday as well.
Check out Tate and Fishburne discussing the series on the next page.