“I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” These eloquent words from Ruth Bader Ginsburg foretell the frankness and candor of the Supreme Court Justice in the new documentary RGB. Known to the world as a trailblazer for women’s rights, Ginsburg has recently garnered much attention by millennials who have coined the octogenarian the “Notorious RBG.” The documentary, which opened this May to Baltimore audiences, explores Ginsubrg’s life and career. Filmmakers Betsy West & Julie Cohen, both co-directors and producers of RBG, recently spoke with Baltimore OUTloud to discuss Ginsburg’s pop culture icon status, the importance of making this documentary now and what they believe will be her legacy for future generations.
“Justice Ginsburg is definitely a pop culture icon for many millennials because of her ability of speaking truth to power,” began filmmaker Julie Cohen. Cohen, a producer and executive for over two decades at ABC News added that Ginsburg is a millennial icon because of her steadfast commitment to protect the rights of all citizens.
“Julie and I took note of Justice Ginsburg’s fame,” began Co-Producer Betsy West. West and Cohen were one day talking about the RBG phenomenon when they decided that now was the time to make a documentary based on Ginsburg’s life. “We knew so much about her that we wanted to share her stories with audiences. She is known as the legal architect of the modern women’s movement.” West, who has directed and produced eight feature documentaries added, “She is a feminist who also had a feminist romance. Her husband believed in equal rights for women. We felt that this would also make an interesting and wonderful story to tell, as well.”
Cohen added, “Justice Ginsburg has a reputation of being a serious-minded person. She is very reserved and serious. However, we were able to see a different side of Justice Ginsburg; a fun side that showed her sense of humor. From the twinkle in her eyes when she talked about her late husband to the laughs she had while watching Kate McKinnon impersonate her on Saturday Night Live.”
West and Cohen both believe that it will be Ginsburg’s commitment, not only for gender equality, but for the democratic institutions that protect the rights of all citizens that will be her legacy. As West explained, “Justice Ginsburg will go down in history as the lawyer o secured equal rights for both women and men under the Constitution.”
- Since 2011, arts writer Frankie Kujawa has covered a wide scope of entertainment stories and celebrity interviews. From the late Carrie Fisher and LGBTQ icon George Takei to comedians Lily Tomlin and Kathy Griffin to performer Idina Menzel, Kujawa’s candid interview ability brings readers past the byline and into the heart of the story. His unbiased previews of Baltimore-Washington’s theatre scene have allowed readers an inside glimpse of today’s most popular local and national performances. A Baltimore-native, Kujawa is proud to call Charm City his home.