Lawyer Puts Spotlight on Black Vets

Lawyer Puts Spotlight on Black Vets
Bob Darwell

Many of us had pandemic projects. Bob Darwell’s was making a documentary.

After last year releasing his debut film “The 90s Club” in the festival circuit and on Amazon Prime, Darwell is now working on his follow-up. The entertainment lawyer — a senior partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter and Hampton in Century City and head of global media for the firm — is producing “Black Uniforms,” another documentary slated for release this year.

“I got a little bit of a bug from doing ‘The 90s Club’,” Darwell said. “I’ve been an entertainment lawyer for about 30 years and worked on lots of movies. When the pandemic hit, I thought I’d fill up some of time. Doing a documentary fits nicely with doing a full-time job because I could go fill these interviews on the weekend and there was no real schedule other than the one I set for myself.”

“The 90s Club,” which Darwell produced through his own R.A.D. Pictures LLC, features a series of interviews with nonagenarians — those 90 and older — about their lives to this point and what wisdom they have to impart. Subjects included actor Dick Van Dyke, civil rights attorney Fred Gray and photographer Tony Vaccaro, who died in December.

“Part of the reason of this documentary was to show that there is not only plenty of life, but intelligence, wisdom and reflection in your 90s,” Darwell said.

Additionally, Darwell said he also hoped to highlight how the elderly and their interests are often sidelined alongside other issues.

“Over the last decade, among a lot of attention on social justice for different groups — while well needed — one group I felt like wasn’t getting a lot of attention still was the very elderly,” he said. “And yet the one common denominator for all of us, if we’re lucky to get there, is that we’ll all be old. All of us at some point get to be an older person and there is an immediate prejudice of sorts when you think of someone in their 80s or 90s and people prejudge that they’re not going to be as ‘with it. ’”

Darwell’s next project, “Black Uniforms,” will feature 12 interviews with Black men and women who have served in the American armed forces — including a 96-year-old Tuskegee airman and 103-year-old woman who served with the famed Six Triple Eight, an all-female all-Black battalion.

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