Five-time NBA all-star Chris Webber, once a champion on the basketball court, is now a champion of diverse storytelling. Webber’s production company, Webber-Gilbert Productions, has produced over 30 films to date including the Emmy nominated documentary, Charm City, which takes an intimate look at the city of Baltimore through the lens of community leaders, politicians and citizens as they fight to make the city a better place for its residents.
The latest project to come out of the production company is a limited series, Fab Five, based on his forthcoming autobiography, By God’s Grace, in partnership with Cashmere Originals, the content studio attached to the award-winning Cashmere Agency.
Fab Five, which doesn’t yet have a premiere date, will highlight Webber’s formative years as a University of Michigan basketball player, including being part of the Fab Five, the 1991 recruiting class regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Cashmere and Webber-Gilbert Production will continue to produce original content beyond this project, with a goal of amplifying the stories of underrepresented athletes and entertainers.
For(bes) The Culture spoke with Webber and Russell Redeaux, head of development at Cashmere Originals, to discuss how they’re prioritizing diverse storytelling.
For(bes) The Culture: What can viewers expect from this project?
Russell Redeaux: From the Cashmere Originals perspective, we’re definitely very excited to be working with Chris. This story is just generationally defining. We were given an opportunity to work together and build this out in a way that is very exciting for us. What you can expect is honest storytelling.
Chris Webber: It’s about the Fab Five, based on my autobiography and we expect to accomplish a goal and the goal is to be truth-tellers. it’s not just a narrative, because I think that for [people] to understand us, [they] have to understand where we come from and those people that made us. Hopefully we can show how our parents, family and village inspired us and prepared us. Hopefully we can show you how Detroit healed us, how it made us and these different situations.
For(bes) The Culture: How did this partnership come about?
Redeaux: I was introduced to Chris through one of his business partners and we had a chance to really just share some time and some great conversation. While getting to know each other, we really discovered that there was a similar passion to tell diverse and multicultural stories. Once we had that sort of mutual alignment, we really saw a bigger vision here and mapped out a plan that included obviously telling Chris’ story and the story of the Fab Five but also opening the door to give the power back to our communities and our storytellers. Bringing opportunities to tell these diverse, inclusive stories that are backed by the sentiment and focus of what Chris and I are building between our joint venture.
Webber: Cashmere is known for their diversity and being an athlete from Detroit, I pride myself in being a Black man in America. Diversity is a strength, all diversity, and Cashmere has honored that. It was one thing personally to put my trust in them to partner and tell this story, which you know, means so much to me. They’re helping to empower me to tell my story, and that’s what we want to do to diverse storytellers.
For(bes) The Culture: Chris, why is it important for you to bring your autobiography to life by way of television? It is sure to continue inspiring many people.
Webber: I hope it does. There’s so many people that inspired me, that hopefully I can give it back. It’s a story of perseverance, trust, faith, pain, success and joy. Hopefully it just really shows how grateful and thankful I am, and that you can have some fun along the way with some ups and downs. Hopefully it inspires as well.
For(bes) The Culture: What are some future projects that this collaboration will bring?
Redeaux: I think that we are actively letting people know that we’re here. Our criteria for the types of projects that we want to bring in are that they have to be unfiltered and honored. We want them to be culturally defining narratives that are told by the people who lived it.
For(bes) The Culture: How do you plan to continue elevating Black creatives with this partnership whether it’s in front of or behind the camera?
Redeaux: With us having the ability to bring great stories forward, our mission is to empower those directors, those writers, those producers and those creatives that may not have gotten those opportunities. We want to make sure our platform continues to empower diversity and great creatives from our community. That’s a focus of ours and that’s the goal in terms of bringing projects forward. We’re actively looking for those types of voices, so this is a call out. If you’re in that world, please come to us. We want to know what you’re doing and we want to give you an opportunity.
Webber: Diversity is a strength. Making sure that we’re inclusive, holding ourselves accountable, and I think most importantly, the more people we empower, the more people that are just going to take it and run with it, and it’s really awesome. The people who are unheard always take it to the next level, and so, that’s gonna be fun empowering people.
For(bes) The Culture: What legacy do you both want to leave behind with this collaborative effort?
Redeaux: People knowing we were honest and intentional with the stories we told and that we were able to tell our own stories and empower others to tell their own stories. The last thing would be to empower our community through the art of storytelling. Creating jobs, creating opportunities to serve under voiced communities, and really just uplifting everything that we do through the art of storytelling.
Webber: You want to have a legacy of hard work. You want to have the legacy of having high character in business. You want to have a legacy of making change. We’ve aligned with people with the same vision that work hard, that can get a lot done. I hope our legacy is giving opportunities to those that have great stories.