Saturday, August 13, 2022

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: Keeping It ‘Raw and Real’ with New Daytime Talk Show [EUR Exclusive]

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*Best-selling NY Times author and professor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson has teamed with Ice-T and Andre Jetmir to executive produce “The Raw Word,” a daily talk show that specializes in a new kind of narrative – where the ordinary and the extraordinary get equal billing and where the conversation focuses squarely on what we all have in common vs. pointing to our differences. 

“The Raw Word” is the perfect mix of celebrity and human interest and Dyson will put a spotlight on the relevant and relatable – along with his co-hosts, Claudia Jordan (“The Celebrity Apprentice,” “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”) and Psychologist Dr. Dan Ratner. On March 5, the syndicated talker launched a four-week test run on select Sinclair affiliates. 

Dyson’s goal is to give audiences what they’ve been craving – a show where love of life and laughter rule the day and a place where they can expect the unexpected.

Commenting on the launch, Dyson said, “I can’t imagine a better time to be handed a platform like The Raw Word. It’s a privilege to work with Andre, Ice-T and Sinclair on this audacious adventure and I look forward to being at a place where real talk and not chatter rules the day. Stepping into a role where we get to come together, laugh, and be moved by the human condition is something that everyone can relate to – no matter your age, gender or race. I’m excited about the opportunity and look forward to getting raw and real in the weeks ahead.”

EUR/Electronic Urban Report caught up with Dr. Dyson to dish about the ways in which “The Raw Word” says exactly what you’re thinking.

Check out our Q&A below.

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Talk about how you and Ice-T of came together to produce this series.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: I’ve known Ice for several years now. A remarkable artist. A gifted man. A visionary in many ways. A pioneer in gangsta rap but a man who’s also been a tremendous artist and actor over the years and a conscientious one at that. So I wanted to be able to connect with him to have the opportunity to do a talk show and he’s done one in an extraordinarily interesting fashion. He’s been such a presence for so long that when the possibility came along and we teamed up together, it just seemed like a natural fit. I’m honored to have this opportunity to present this for the American public and hope that they enjoy it.

Give an overview of what viewers can expect to see on the debut episode of ‘The Raw Word.’

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: What we’re going to do is talk about the issues of the day. We’re going to have guests on who speak about prison, who talk about surviving cancer. We’re going to have celebrities on. We’re going to have everyday people on. We’re going to have a few game shows and different features and sets that allow people to see us talking about and talking to not only famous people but ordinary people about issues that concern them — household products, concerns about their fashion, about what they eat and so on…. That’s what we’re about and from the very first show, that’s what we’re going to present. 

What makes ‘The Raw Word’ unique compared to all the other daytime talk shows currently airing?

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: Well, it’s got me on it! I don’t know how many talk shows have a guy with a Ph.D. from Princeton in Religion, who writes about pop culture, has written 20 books, is a professor at a prestigious university and is trying to connect with ordinary everyday people to talk about what is going on in life. So hopefully that offers us a different way into the whole conversation and at the same time permits us to be able to leverage that presence, and whatever I’ve been able to gain, as a result of that. And then with co-hosts like Claudia Jordan and Dr. Dan Ratner, it rounds us out for people who approach life in 3 different ways but who come together as a unified whole to try to talk about what we think is important. So I think those kinds of things, and our sense of humor, our sense of gravity and what goes on in terms of race, politics, and culture but also everyday stuff that’s fun and entertainment and friendly. We bring the serious and the lighthearted together in a seamless fashion.

Is there a particular theme or social issue that you’re most excited about viewers exploring with you?

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: We did a segment that’s coming up with an actor, I won’t say it now til everybody can see it, but a well-known actor about the documentary that he did with an Oscar-winning filmmaker and we got a chance to talk about the prison industrial complex, about why people are in prison, how America is addicted to prisons, how prisons don’t really resolve the issues we confront as a nation and what to do about it. I’m doing that on a daytime talk show. It’s not heavy. It’s not dragging but it’s a serious issue that we are allowed to speak about to the broader public. That kind of stuff is what turns me on as well as being able to show the light-hearted side of myself. You know the one that likes to have fun and spit some bars and joke with people. That’s equally relevant to my persona but that doesn’t often get shown on TV because I’m often doing battles and intellectual combat against people who are trying to make America great again but in a far worse way than I could imagine.

What’s the overall mission of this show and what do you hope viewers take away from ‘The Raw Word?’

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: It’s to make sure that we deal with interests, topics and issues that are important to our fellow citizens. That we don’t avoid the tough issues but we bring up the things that bring us together. That we talk about, honestly and openly, the truths that we can avoid and the things we need to talk about: race, sex, class, culture, sexual orientation, gender, but we do so through a lens that allows us, as hosts, to talk about not only the things that divide us but bring us together — the bridges we can build and the ignorance we need to overcome in order to be truly and wholly heal from our history. If people can get a slice of our understanding of the world and how we operate it, what we think is important, the issues that matter and how we can give a different twist to it without provoking people to be defensive because of our perspectives — if we can do all that, I think we’ll be a success.

Looking back on your illustrious career, which interviews stand out to you?

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: I’ve got a new book coming out and it’s about the meeting between James Baldwin and Robert F. Kennedy back in ’63. I’ve done a lot of interviews for that book. I think the interview with Jordan Peele, who did “Get Out” was powerful. The interview with Chadwick Boseman who’s now playing the Black Panther was great and also Tarana Burke, the woman who was the founder of #MeToo, was extremely valuable, insightful and powerful. So people like that stand out. Of course, on my radio show, my first interview was Oprah Winfrey and that was a huge bonus to me but also a blessing because she spit so much wisdom and dropped so much science. Gardner Taylor, the late-great black preacher who was an inspiration to Martin Luther King Jr. as a rhetorician, his was great as well. So there have been so many people over the years — and the great Aretha Franklin — but those are some that stand out.

With social media, the internet, blogs, and 24/7 media coverage influencing the evolution of social media, how is this impacting how you cover the news?

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson: I certainly try to keep up with that. But I try to broaden it and deepen the context. There’s a bigger issue at stake. There are longer-term ideas we need to grapple with. Social media is a way into but not an exhaustive expression of the news, life, thinking the best thought on a particular issue, how we come at things, how we step back and reflect on the world in which we are living and how we make our contributions to that world. So I embrace social media and the immediacy of the digital era for what they’re able to provide and how they’re able to link up people across race, sex, class and gender and indeed across the globe but you have to remind people that we need to take time also to dig deeper than a tweet can give us and to think more systematically than it is encouraged on Instagram or Facebook. But those forms are extremely important to democratize media and social expression so that whosoever can be involved, and sometimes people with real talent who don’t have a big name, can intervene and have a conversation with people by virtue of their smarts. They win an audience by virtue of what they’re able to contribute. So that’s beautiful in terms of democratizing those spaces but still, you need to step back sometime and remind people everything can’t be delivered in a tweet or in a Facebook chat or in an Instagram posting.

“The Raw Word” can be seen on the following stations below. Check the official website for more information and local listings. 

Viewers can join the conversation on Twitter @therawwordtv or Facebook @TheRawWordTV

WPNT Pittsburgh, PA — MY 2PM
WRDC Raleigh, NC — MY 2PM
WUTB Baltimore, MD (Deerfield) — MY 10AM
WUXP Nashville, TN — MY 1PM

WSMH Flint/Saginaw/Bay City, MI — FOX 9AM
WRSP Champaign/Springfield, IL — FOX 10AM
WTWC.2 Tallahassee, FL — FOX 3PM
WGXA Macon, GA — FOX 1PM

WCGV Milwaukee, WI — MY 10AM
EKRC Cincinnati, OH — CW 2PM
WMYA Greenville/Spartanburg, SC/Asheville, NC — MY 12PM
KVCW.2 Las Vegas, NV — MY 12PM

WWMT.2 Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo, MI — CW 11AM
WTTO Birmingham, AL — CW 9AM
WNYO Buffalo, NY — MY 10AM
WJTC Mobile, AL/Pensacola, FL (Deerfield) — IND 11AM

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.



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