It’s been said that radio has the power to inspire millions of mental images unique to each listener. Local award-winning Houston Public Media (HPM) morning news anchor Eddie Robinson agrees and aims to do the same by discussing his journey into fatherhood as a single Black gay man on his new radio broadcast show, I See U.
The show, which debuts in March, will feature Robinson’s experiences with surrogacy, from the related financial costs and limited number of resources offered to LGBTQ people who want to start families to the joy he felt when his gestational carrier became pregnant. “This is quite possibly the most challenging endeavor in my entire life,” Robinson says. “I’m hoping this [show] will help other gay single men, especially [those who are] men of color.”
He began to look for a surrogate after his own father, Edward “Skeet” Robinson Sr., died in 2018 due to complications from diabetes. That painful moment convinced the younger Robinson to continue his dad’s bloodline and legacy. He wanted to honor the love that his father showed him while growing up—and, eventually, after he came out.
Coming out to his parents was a difficult process. Although Robinson’s grandparents were committed civil-rights activists who fought to end Jim Crow laws in McComb, Mississippi, his parents were deeply religious Southern Baptists who did not accept him when he first told them that he was gay in 2007.
“Family has always meant the world to me,” Robinson says. “I love the concept of family and being around those who support and care for you. That’s the true definition of family, but mine shut me out. It hit my heart.”
For months, it was radio silence between Robinson and his parents. But the breakdown in communication ended when his father called him on the phone right before Labor Day weekend and told him, “We still love you. Come home. Come visit. We miss you.”
“It’s been his love, compassion, and sense of humor that has inspired me to create a long-lasting legacy for him,” Robinson says. “He was relentlessly devoted to his family, wife, work, and friends. Losing him meant losing my world. I want to share that kind of fatherly love. I’m excited about being a dad.”
According to his GoFundMe page, Robinson has faced severe roadblocks since he first embarked on this journey. At one point, after spending more than $60,000 on costs and fees related to the surrogacy, he still had no child. Although his situation has improved, now that his gestational carrier in Oregon has become pregnant, he is still seeking financial assistance to continue his journey.
While this experience has been fraught with hardship, Robinson believes fatherhood will be worth the effort and struggle.
“I have faith that something really phenomenal is going to happen,” Robinson says. “My fertility saga has been a wild roller coaster of extreme highs and devastating lows, but for some reason, in my heart I believe that everything’s going to be fine and work itself out.”
Robinson hopes sharing his story on I See U will inspire more companies and organizations to invest in financial resources for single gay men.
He had similar hopes when he first got into radio. Growing up in McComb, in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he didn’t have many LGBTQ role models to look up to, or safe spaces where he could be himself. So, he decided to make that space on the radio.
The medium allowed him to conceal his face, find his voice, and be himself without risking hate or having to put up with society’s often-harmful perception of what a Black gay man should look and act like.
Robinson says, “Radio just brought out the best in me. When I’d go live on-air, there’d be an instant tsunami of energy, personality, and emotion because I didn’t have to worry about people judging me by what I looked like. I had the protection of hundreds of thousands of wattages of broadcast bandwidth and a microphone. All of that was just sheltering me, protecting me, comforting me, and creating that comfort zone.”
Although his parents wanted him to become a lawyer or engineer, Robinson always found his way back to the broadcasting field because he loved engaging with listeners of all backgrounds.
His career in radio started in the tenth grade when he worked for two stations in McComb as a music jockey. Despite being a mechanical engineering major, he was given the chance to host his first public-radio program at KPVU-FM of Prairie View A&M University because of his background in radio and ability to connect with audiences. He eventually hosted his second talk show in 2014 on Sirius XM’s OutQ channel called The Outfield, where he spoke with LGBTQ athletes like tennis legend Martina Navratilova as well as allies like NFL quarterback Warren Moon.
Thanks to HPM, the National Public Radio news affiliate in Houston, Robinson will have another opportunity to host his own talk show next month.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and so many other police-brutality incidents, HPM has launched a “diversity, equality, and inclusion initiative” that has given rise to new projects like I See U. Robinson’s show is being promoted as a weekly series that offers marginalized or otherwise neglected voices, from newsmakers to religious leaders, the chance to share their story and experiences on a public digital platform.
“This show gets at exploring culture through dialogue pertaining to social justice, racial inequality, spirituality, music, and gives voices to people who have overcome obstacles or have made significant impacts on our lives but have somehow gone unnoticed,” Robinson notes.
“They could be Black, white—whatever race, ethnicity, or orientation. We want to hear their story, learn, and understand where they’re coming from so, hopefully, the listener can walk away with ‘aha’ moments and experience a sense of self-discovery.”