Support for “Suave” was provided by the Art for Justice Fund, a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and The Heising-Simons Foundation: Unlocking knowledge, opportunity, and possibilities.
About “Suave” from Futuro Studios and PRX
“Suave” is a seven-part podcast series about the criminal justice system that sentences juveniles to life in prison — particularly young men of color — and what happens when, decades later, they’re suddenly granted one more chance at freedom. The story follows David Luis ‘Suave’ Gonzalez from boy to man, and explores incarceration, redemption, and the often unusual relationship between a journalist and a source.
In 1988, Gonzalez was found guilty of a first-degree homicide committed when he was 17 years old. A Philadelphia judge sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. At Graterford State Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania, Suave joined the largest population of juvenile lifers in the country, young men considered by the U.S. justice system to be “irredeemable.” Then, in 2016, a Supreme Court decision changed everything. After expecting to die in prison, suddenly Gonzalez had another chance at freedom.
Released in 2017 and now in his 50s, the series follows Suave as he transitions to life on the outside and tries to live as a model citizen, yet he soon realizes there are limits to how much freedom he can ever truly have. Journalist Maria Hinojosa — who has communicated with Gonzalez for nearly 30 years — also realizes there are limits to how much she can help as he navigates the realities of conditional freedom. As the team explores racism and corruption in the legal system, and the more Hinojosa learns about Gonzalez’s crime, the more they question the events that put him in prison in the first place, and the system that continues to put children away for life.
About Futuro Studios
Futuro Studios is the new creative division of the Futuro Media Group, an independent nonprofit organization producing multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. Based in Harlem and founded in 2010 by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, Futuro Media is committed to telling stories and uplifting voices and perspectives often overlooked by mainstream media. Futuro Studios partners with some of the world’s top media companies to produce beautiful narrative storytelling podcasts that center Latinx, Black, and immigrant experiences. Our team of podcast producers, editors, sound designers and engineers have collectively won some of the highest awards in narrative and investigative journalism.
In 2019, Futuro Studios debuted with “The Battle of 187,” a co-production with the Los Angeles Times, following up with “Con Todo: Brown Love” in collaboration with Netflix, “Radical Imagination” with PolicyLink, and “TransLash Podcast” with Imara Jones. Recently, it launched the critically-acclaimed podcasts: “Anything For Selena” with WBUR, “La Brega” with WNYC Studios, “Norco 80” for LAist Studios, “LOUD: The History of Reggaeton” with Spotify, and “Ídolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sánchez” with Sonoro. Futuro Studios podcasts were recognized in many 2021 year-end lists, including four of our original series landing on The Atlantic’s Top 50 podcasts of 2021.
Futuro Media also produces Peabody Award winning “Latino USA,” the longest running national Latino news and cultural public radio program; “In The Thick,” an award winning political podcast; and Latino Rebels, a pioneering digital news outlet founded by journalist Julio Ricardo Varela.
PRX is a non-profit public media company specializing in audio journalism and storytelling. PRX serves independent producers and organizations by helping them connect to their most engaged, supportive audiences. One of the world’s leading podcast publishers, PRX works in partnership with TED, PBS, the Smithsonian, Futuro Media, GBH, Religion of Sports, and more. PRX is also home to Radiotopia, known as one of the most creative and successful podcast networks. In addition, PRX distributes trusted and treasured public radio programming to hundreds of stations nationwide, including “The World,” “The Moth Radio Hour,” “This American Life,” “Snap Judgment,” “Reveal,” “The Takeaway,” and “Latino USA.” PRX programs have been recognized by the Peabody Awards, the duPont-Columbia Awards, the IDA Documentary Awards, and the Pulitzer Prizes.