Interview: Producer Charles Hobson on “Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant”

Forty years ago, the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn was one of the largest and most dynamic African-American communities in the country – 400,000 people made their home within its three square miles. But Bed-Stuy became synonymous with crime and poverty when the mainstream media focused on urban unrest during the ’60s. One television show decided to change all that.

Charles Hobson was a producer for WBAI radio when he was approached to produce a news program about Bedford-Stuyvesant. Robert F. Kennedy conceived a television series that would show the ‘real’ Bed-Stuy -– a neighborhood of working families, students, artists and professionals. “Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant” came to New York’s airwaves in 1968.

On “Inside Bedford-Stuyvesant”, Charles Hobson captured his neighborhood in black and white — local celebrities, activists, musicians, and regular residents all made appearances on the weekly show. The program ran for two years, and Hobson moved on to produce shows like “Black Journal” and “Like It Is”.