Futuro Media Announces “We Imagine…. Us,” a New Podcast Envisioning How People Can Work Together
PRESS RELEASE · New York, United States ·
Futuro Media announced “We Imagine…Us,” a groundbreaking podcast and multimedia project to inspire people and communities to envision how they can work together to create a world that is truly equitable for all. “We Imagine…Us” is a project of Futuro Unidad Hinojosa, a new division of Futuro Media dedicated to special creative projects.
The We Imagine…Us podcast will consist of two interlocking series produced and distributed in partnership with public media organization PRX. The two series will launch together in fall 2021 and will explore and reflect on themes of racial solidarity and equity. Futuro Media’s first-ever audio fiction series, “The Long Way Around,” stars Emmy Award-winning actress Karrueche Tran and a diverse voice cast and was written by two-time Emmy and Peabody Award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and playwright Trey Ellis (The Tuskegee Airmen). A companion series, “Re-Imagination Nation with Maria Hinojosa,” will delve more deeply into the issues raised in the fiction series and will feature interviews with thought leaders, artists, and activists from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Solidarity Council on Racial Equity (SCoRE), including musician John Legend, filmmaker Ava DuVernay (When They See Us), author Heather McGhee (The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together), civil rights advocate and author Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), and more.
The podcast series will be free via the “We Imagine…Us” podcast feed across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, and Spotify. As part of “We Imagine…Us,” a series of animated video shorts will offer an extraordinary experience for audiences to envision what a future world might look like if changes were made to address the ongoing issues of inequality in communities.
More information regarding the podcast series and animated series is available below.
“We Imagine…Us” will launch with a live virtual event on September 16th, 2020, at 7 pm EDT hosted by Maria Hinojosa and featuring interviews with SCoRE members, including activist Linda Sarsour, One Fair Wage President Saru Jayaraman, National Compadres Network founder Jerry Tello, author Mayra Santos-Febres, and others. The event will invite the public to join the conversation and share ideas and thoughts about possible ways to create a more just and equitable community. The event will be hosted on the “We Imagine…Us” website and on our social media feeds. Audiences are invited to RSVP now, and @Futuromedia and @weimagineus will provide the latest updates across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“We’ve recently witnessed so many big issues that have affected communities in profound and painful ways—particularly the killing of George Floyd, the racism immigrants have faced at our borders or close to home, and how the pandemic has laid bare the inequalities that have historically harmed Black and brown communities. As a journalist, as an immigrant woman, and as a mother, I wanted to do something that could help people see ways to a better future,” said Maria Hinojosa, Founder of Futuro Media. “Through my work with Kellogg and SCoRE, I had access to a brilliant group of people like Michelle Alexander and Heather McGhee, john a. powell, and Saru Jayaraman. I knew Futuro Media could help share their important insights with the larger public to inspire ideas and conversations about how communities can come together to create solutions for our biggest challenges. I’m thrilled we were able to do this with such an incredibly creative team of producers and artists while leaning into our core mission of focusing on our human experiences and interconnectedness.”
“We Imagine…Us” features three different productions that can be enjoyed on their own or as companion series to each other:
“The Long Way Around,” a multi-part fiction podcast to be released in the fall of 2021. The podcast will tell the story of a Black American father and his Black Vietnamese American daughter who set out across the United States in hope of rebuilding their lives. From the impact of incarceration on parents and children to issues of immigration, environmental racism, and the fight for fair wages, this audio drama offers a moving and clear-eyed look at our contemporary struggles and how, through solidarity, we can make a change. With a focus on representation and centering voices of color, this series presents an expansive multicultural cast and creative team, including Emmy Award-winners actress Karrueche Tran and screenwriter Trey Ellis, Latin Grammy Award-winning composer Michael Ramos, award-winning fiction podcast producer Paula Gammon Wilson, and Heartland Emmy-nominated sound designer Leslie Gaston-Bird.
“Re-Imagination Nation with Maria Hinojosa,” a companion series to “The Long Way Around” to be released simultaneously in the fall of 2021. The series of inspiring interviews with global change leaders offers inspirational ideas about how we think about issues of racial and social equity with an eye toward addressing some of today’s most pressing concerns for communities. Hosted by Maria Hinojosa and produced by Andres Caballero, each episode meets with thinkers, artists, activists, or community builders who are members of the Solidarity Council on Racial Equity (SCoRE) and are helping to transform our present with visions of what could be a better future. Among the stirring guests are author Michelle Alexander, musician-activist John Legend, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, author-activist Saru Jayaraman, activist Linda Sarsour, political strategist Heather McGhee, author Jerry Tello, and many more.
An animated shorts series titled “We Imagine…Us” will feature characters from “The Long Way Around” podcast and will be released in the fall of 2021. Available via social media, the series seeks to show what a future could look like if specific issues such as environmental justice and immigration rights were addressed in real ways within our communities. With production from Lori Knight in collaboration with acclaimed animators Sonya Carey of The Animation Lounge and Jardley Jean-Louis of Jardley Studios, the powerful visual works are directed and written by Trey Ellis.
Support for “We Imagine…Us” is provided by a grant from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation: A partner with communities where children come first.
About Futuro Media and Futuro Unidad Hinojosa:
Futuro Media produces Peabody Award-winning Latino USA, the longest-running national Latino news and cultural public radio program; In The Thick, a political podcast from the perspective of journalists of color; Latino Rebels, a pioneering digital news outlet founded by Julio Ricardo Varela that reaches millions through its website, radio programming, and podcasts; and Futuro Studios, Futuro Media’s newest creative division, focusing on original podcasts and programming. For more information, visit www.futuromediagroup.org.
Futuro Unidad Hinojosa (FUH) is a special projects division of Futuro Media led by Maria Hinojosa and Diane Sylvester. The entrepreneurial unit seeks to develop highly creative multimedia projects that will build on and deeply enhance the ongoing work of Futuro Media’s other productions. FUH will add essential reporting capacity and expertise, particularly in the area of investigative journalism, and create bespoke, highly creative works that build upon the original mission of Futuro to elevate the stories of communities that are ignored or underexplored in other media.
PRX is a public media organization shaping the future of audio by producing and distributing content, building technology, and training talented, independent producers. With an award-winning portfolio of iconic public radio programs, such as The World, This American Life, The Moth Radio Hour, Latino USA, Snap Judgment, and Reveal, PRX is also home to a growing body of podcast productions, including via the Radiotopia podcast network as well as the TRAX podcast network for tweens. Programming from PRX has received recognition from the Peabody Awards, Edward R. Murrow Awards, the duPont-Columbia Awards, the Third Coast International Audio Festival, and the Pulitzer Prizes. More at PRX.org.
Maria Hinojosa (Founder of Futuro Media and Host)
Maria Hinojosa dreamt of a space where she could create independent, multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diverse American experience. She made that dream a reality in 2010 when she created Futuro Media, an independent, nonprofit newsroom based in Harlem, NYC, with the mission to create multimedia content from a POC perspective. As the anchor and executive producer of the Peabody Award-winning show Latino USA, distributed by PRX, and co-host of Futuro Media’s award-winning political podcast In The Thick, Hinojosa has informed millions about the changing cultural and political landscape in America and abroad.
Karrueche Tran (Adult Mercy - “The Long Way Around”)
LA native and Emmy Award-winning actress Karrueche Tran has quickly become one of Hollywood’s sweethearts. Best known for her role as Virginia on TNT’s acclaimed series Claws, the actress and socialite has accumulated a worldwide fan base of over 10 million combined social media followers and counting. Karrueche not only stars in the Emmy Award-winning web series The Bay, but she made history at the 2021 Daytime Emmy Awards as the first AAPI acting winner of any Emmy competition and the first
Asian performer to win a lead acting Emmy in any acting competition (Daytime or Prime Emmys.)
Over the years she has collaborated with brands like ColourPop Cosmetics, releasing one of their top-selling limited-edition makeup lines, KaePop. She released an athleisure wear collection with Pretty Little Thing and launched her own jewelry line, KAE by Karrueche, in 2020. Karrueche landed the E! News co-host spot at the 2017 Golden Globes red carpet, and her genuine and playful personality has garnered her numerous hosting opportunities, including MTV’s hit show Catfish and the BET Awards red carpet. Karrueche’s natural knack for fashion has also made her a paparazzi favorite and solidified her spot as a well-known fashion “it girl.” Whether it’s the latest streetwear look or sitting front row at top designer runway shows in Florence, Paris, and Milan, Karrueche is a must-watch in the fashion world.
Karrueche has immersed herself in philanthropic work by teaming up with nonprofits such as Smile Train, Environmental Media Awards, and Global Wildlife Conservation. She was also seen on FOX’s Deputy in a recurring role as Genevieve and guest-starred alongside Tracy Morgan on his TBS show, The Last O.G. Tran is repped by Blood Law Group.
Trey Ellis (Senior Writer “The Long Way Around” / Writer-Director “We Imagine…Us”)
Trey Ellis is a two-time Emmy and Peabody-winning filmmaker, American Book Award-winning novelist, NAACP Image Award-winning playwright, essayist, and professor of professional practice at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Most recently, he was an executive producer and interviewer for the HBO documentaries True Justice: Bryan Stevenson’s Fight for Equality and King in the Wilderness. His screenplay Holy Mackerel! is one of the highest ever rated on Franklin Leonard’s Black List.com. Some of his other screenplays include The Tuskegee Airmen for HBO and Good Fences for Showtime, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was shortlisted for the PEN award for Best Teleplay. His works have been screened at the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He is the author of the novels, Platitudes, Home Repairs, and Right Here, Right Now, as well as the memoir Bedtime Stories: Adventures in the Land of Single-Fatherhood. His essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, GQ, and Vanity Fair, and he has contributed audio commentary to NPR’s All Things Considered. His play Fly was commissioned by the Lincoln Center Institute and continues to be performed in theaters around the country, including Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C., the Pasadena Playhouse, and the New Victory Theater in New York. He is currently in rehearsals for a musical based on the life of Dorothy Dandridge for which he wrote the book and is co-writer of the lyrics.
Michael Ramos (Composer)
Michael Ramos is a producer/composer/musician from Austin, Texas. Michael has toured and recorded with a vast array of artists, including John Mellencamp, The Rembrandts, Lila Downs, Paul Simon, Robert Plant, Kris Kristofferson, Patty Griffin, Los Lonely Boys, The BoDeans, Pat Green, Lucinda Williams, and many others, as well as writing and producing for his own project, Charanga Cakewalk. He is the owner of Brown Recluse Studio where he produces projects for others as well as his own music and film and TV scoring projects. He was awarded a Latin Grammy in 2016 for his studio work with Lila Downs. In addition to his successful career as a musician, composer, and producer, Michael has joined Lucky Hound Music as an A&R person/staff producer and is also a member of The 484 Artist Management team. At this point in his career Michael says, “I am always looking for my next challenge. I look for the things that keep my passion for music fresh and exciting.”
Cast of “The Long Way Around”:
Karrueche Tran: Adult Mercy Watkins
Maria Ta: Mercy: Teenage Mercy Watkins
Arlando Smith: Albert “Bumpy” Watkins
Elyse Dinh: Grandma Duyen
Leonard Le: Grandpa Tuan
Marisa Blake: Anahi
Ryan Shrime: Chip
David Lee Huynh: Jimmy
Dianne Dudley: Officer Simmons
William Figueroa: Enrique
Billy Bob Thompson: Quincy
Marco Antonio Rodriguez: Border Patrol Officer
Barron Bass: Male Newscaster
Blessid NiaYemi: Claressa
Soraya Butler: Vonetta
Meggy Hai Trang: Vietnamese Waitress
Saurin Choksi: Vignesh
Dee Dorcas: Amina
Eric Reis: Train Conductor 4
Daniel Edwards: Probation Officer Lee
Michelle Guanca: Train Conductor 3
Alyson Rosenfeld: Karen
Andy Lowe: Ciulung Ma
Dylan Jones: Willmar Police Officer
By: Futuro Unidad Hinojosa
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