Bronzeville – An Enthralling Audio Theater Experience

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Point blank, if you’re not listening to “Bronzeville”…you’re doing it wrong. All of it. It’s a new audio theater podcast that focuses on a black community on the Southside of Chicago. If you like period pieces, and an incredible amount of drama – you’ll dig this podcast.

Now that there are a handful of episodes out (5 at the time of this writing), I feel compelled to write about this and try to get as many people as possible to listen to this. If only to have people to talk about it with because you guys…in the last two episodes, shit goes DOWN. Like there was a moment in today’s episode where I literally yelled “WAIT…WHAT?!?!” and had to rewind it to make sure that it actually happened.

Also, listening to this podcast in 2017 will enrage you if you’re a decent human being. There are SO MANY things that happen in this podcast that I know people are experiencing today. For example, there’s a scene in the second episode where two white women venture to a nightclub in Bronzeville to experience a night out with a friend of color. An altercation happens, that probably isn’t out of norm in this minority community – and these two white women get uncomfortable real quick and bail. Nothing about these two characters seem inherently racist. In fact, they seem rather progressive. Their efforts to spend time in a nightclub in Bronzeville is clearly an action to include themselves in their friend’s life and gain insight to their friend’s daily experiences. But it feels oddly reminiscent of something like Jimmy Kimmel being uncomfortable with foreign names at the 2017 Academy Awards. I don’t think Kimmel is a racist. But he was clearly uncomfortable with names that weren’t Western enough for him (Mahershala and Yulree), deeming them invalid.

I don’t know that one of the white characters, Margaery (played by Brittany Snow), serves a purpose other than showcasing white privilege back then and how much it still applies now. But holy shit, y’all. She’s like….aight for the first few episodes, but she definitely has a moment where she shifts from like…white person to wypipo. You know, when a pseudo progressive white person says something just so incredibly wrong that you’re like, “UGH….WYPIPO.” (Steel yourself for this next sentence, because I’m about to sound like a gaping LA asshole right now.) I remember driving ¬†down Melrose past the Paramount Pictures lot when an exchange happens between Margaery and Lisa (played by Tike Sumpter) where I very violently whispered “holy shit’ to myself and like, gasped and covered my mouth just out of pure shock. It was a really sad and sudden decline of Margaery’s character, but the drama was straight up delicious.

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Speaking of Tika Sumpter, I am now convinced that she’s just flat out, way too good for this world. I don’t know what we did to deserve her, honestly. Her performance in this series is astounding. Her character Lisa, is the ray of light in a very dangerous family. The one kid who went to college and is doing everything right, but as we recently learn – she’s just a straight up badass. Tika absolutely kills this role. She goes from sweet to absolutely biting in the same breath.

It’s amazing to experience the range that all the actors in this series are able to convey via just audio. If you’ve never listened to a scripted, episodic podcast before – this a a perfect entry into that world. Yes, you could go and listen to the most obvious thing like “Welcome to Nightvale” – but Bronzeville is only a few episodes in, so it’s way less overwhelming to try and catch up.

OH ALSO. Just being the social media marketing nerd that I am. Bronzeville has the best damn Blue Apron sponsorship integration that I’ve ever heard. It’s the first time I’ve ever been convinced to actually try Blue Apron. They relate it to fresh, home cooked meals being a part of the actual Bronzeville experience in the 1940s. Ugh, literally no one cares about something like that but me, but I just had to mention.

So please, someone else listen to this podcast and discuss with me on Twitter (@MaiLinhsTweets). There’s action. There’s drama. There’s a very possible romance that’s currently developing. The story is entirely captivating, and I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

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