Fatima Robinson is celebrating her first Emmy nomination as a producer for the Grammys on CBS. Fatima is a long-time choreographer that has worked across movies, award shows, television, and music videos. She talks about what attracted her to the Grammys this year and what has inspired her past and future work. She also reveals the nicknames that she and Brandy have for each other.
Awards Daily: This is your first Emmy nomination. What has that experience been like for you?
Fatima Robinson: It’s been nice. Unfortunately because of COVID I haven’t been able to enjoy the perks of being nominated pre-ceremony. But it’s very nice because so many times I was submitted as a choreographer throughout my career and to be nominated as a producer for a show like the Grammys is just wonderful.
AD: Was there something specific or interesting working on the Grammys for you, considering the breadth of your work?
Fatima Robinson: Well, this year was different. In the past I have worked with the same executive producer and, for the first time in twenty years, we had a new executive producer so we really changed up the show completely. In changing the format and also working through the pandemic, there were so many conversations about creating a show that is both entertaining that doesn’t fall flat because of our limitations. It was quite an exciting project to work on, and coming on as a producer I was able to work more behind the scenes. That is so different from being on the other side as I usually am as a creative director.
So, what I bring to the table is so important because I do know the other side so well. Most producers aren’t in the rehearsal studio with the artist, and part of the decision-making that the artist makes in their hair, makeup, wardrobe, song selection to all these things that I get to do on the other side. But to be able to understand the artist and what they love and don’t love and be able to communicate that to the other producers was really great.
AD: As a huge fan of this year’s winner for best album Taylor Swift, can you say anything about her in particular?
Fatima Robinson: I haven’t worked with Taylor personally, she is wonderful though. Such an amazing talented woman and artist who keeps evolving, which is something an artist should always strive to do. She does it well with so much talent and grace.
AD: You have worked with so many different talents across award shows, music videos, commercials, movies. What gets you interested in a project?
Fatima Robinson: Sometimes it is the artist or a director I want to work with, and sometimes the treatment is really interesting or funny. Sometimes it’s a remake of something that I’m really passionate about. Like I’m going to be working on The Color Purple, the musical with Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey producing. So that’s exciting because I loved the movie so much. It really just depends on who’s involved and sometimes it’s just my scheduling and how it aligns is what I have going on in my life.
AD: I think I counted that you’ve been involved in the Oscars five times in different capacities. What has gotten you back to that show so many times?
Fatima Robinson: Oh, I love the Oscars. It’s the best night, I love cinema and everything about the excitement of that night. It is always great when you’re taking music from a film and bringing it alive to the audience. I love doing that. Sometimes I’m involved with something from the very beginning like the song Happy. I have known Pharrell (Williams) for years since we were, like, nineteen and I have choreographed so many songs that he has produced. We are good friends but I had never choreographed for him. So when he sent me the Happy song I loved how infectious it was and we had so much fun working on the music video. Then to see it go from the video to being backstage, standing next to each other at the Oscars, I was, like, “Wow we are really here!” It is a lovely evening.
AD: You have a new show called Queens starring Brandy. What can you tell us about that project?
Fatima Robinson: Queens on ABC is great! It is about a 90s girl group that decides to get back together after their song is sampled and it becomes popular again. But everyone’s life has gone in so many different directions that coming back together has its challenges. I choreographed Brandy when she was fifteen years old and I did her Baby music video and her tour. So to come together with her has been so much fun. We had nicknames for each other back then and we’ve been breaking out our nicknames again. It feels like I’m working with my little sister and I love it so much.
AD: Can I ask what the nicknames are?
Fatima Robinson: I call her Brandy B and she calls me Fatima T. But we sing it–I am, like, Brandy B! and she’s, like, Fatima T!
AD: I looked over your filmography and saw that you haven’t worked with the Emmys. Is that a show you’d be interested in working with in the future?
Fatima Robinson: Yes, if they came calling, of course I would!
AD: How are you preparing for Emmy night if you win?
Fatima Robinson I am just taking it in stride and if we win, we win and you know we will have fun.