google-site-verification=cXrcMGa94PjI5BEhkIFIyc9eZiIwZzNJc4mTXSXtGRM March Madness meets Black History: Breaking down barriers and calling out the terrible game of racism - 360WISE MEDIA
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March Madness meets Black History: Breaking down barriers and calling out the terrible game of racism

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Sarah Stier / Staff / Getty Images

Both the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments generate tens of millions of dollars every year, thanks largely to Black student-athletes. According to Forbes“Black men make up 50% of the 68 teams in the 2024 NCAA men’s basketball tournament. More than one in three student-athletes (36%) in this year’s women’s tournament are black.”

This is a comparatively latest phenomenon, having been occurring for several many years college basketball was essentially an almost exclusively white sport. “Until the 1950s, black people playing on campus courts were rare exceptions.”

This legacy of exclusion had a long-lasting impact. It wasn’t until April 2, 1984, that John Thompson made history when he became the first black coach to win the NCAA984 Basketball Tournament. John Thompson made history when he became the first black coach to win the NCAA basketball tournament while coaching a team Georgetown Hoyas to victory.

But it was bittersweet. As Thompson said ESPN“I may have been the first black person to be given the opportunity to compete for this award because you discriminated against thousands of my ancestors by depriving them of this opportunity.”

“So I felt compelled to define it, and I got a little criticism for saying it because a young guy came up to me and asked, ‘What’s it like, Coach Thompson, to be the first African-American…,’ and I said, “I feel offended by what you say.” But I explained to him because there are various men who’ve been deprived of this chance who would have won it well before me.” Thompson added.

On the women’s side, Kenny Brooks was the first Black head coach, leading Virginia Tech to their first-ever Final Four appearance last yr.

From the Utah women’s basketball team being the victim of racial hate crimes to the racist portrayal of LSU in the media, race has been a serious topic on this yr’s NCAA Tournament.

AND Los Angeles Times the article, which has since been redacted, contained racist and sexist undertones that were likely directed at Black LSU women’s basketball players. Writer Ben Bolch described the Sweet 16 game between UCLA and LSU as a “reckoning” between good and evil and posed the query: “Do you favor America’s sweethearts or her perverted debutants? Milk and cookies or Louisiana hot sauce?

Hailey Van Lith, one of the white players on the team, talked to him New York Post Officecommenting, “We have a lot of black women on our team [and] Unfortunately, this prejudice still exists.”

“Many of the people writing these comments are racist towards my teammates. I’m in a singular situation, I’ll talk nonsense and I’ll get a special response than if an Angel spoke nonsense… Some of the words utilized in this text were very sad and depressing and I didn’t want us to try this read the article before [Sweet 16] because it isn’t appropriate to hearken to such things… Calling us “dirty debutants” has nothing to do with sports.” From Lit added.

Bolch apologized on the Internet where he did so he wrote: “Words matter. As a journalist, no one should know this more than me. But I failed miserably with my choice of words.”

“In my column previewing the LSU-UCLA women’s basketball game, I tried to wisely frame one team’s attitude by using alliteration while failing to understand the deeply offensive connotations and associations. I also used metaphors that were not appropriate. Our society has had to deal with so many layers of misogyny, racism and negativity that I now understand why the words I used were wrong. It was not my intention to cause harm, but I now realize that I missed the mark terribly.”

Over the weekend, the Los Angeles Times removed the offensive language and issued a press release statement stating that it “does not meet the Times’ editorial standards.”

In one study, scientists analyzed March madness college basketball games and found that “stereotypes about skin color and race play a significant role in how announcers describe players during games.” According to a study published in the journal ” American journal of sociology“sport is not an institution immune to racism and, in fact, can play a significant role in shaping beliefs and interpretations about intellectual, physical abilities and performance.”


This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Debbie Allen gives a lesson on harnessing your power at the Hillman Grad Women On The Rise event

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Photo: Chris Lowe

“Having power doesn’t mean you can be mean or make people feel lesser; having power empowers people,” Debbie Allen told a crowd of eager listeners at the Hillman Honors Women on the Rise event in Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon. The April 14 meeting was the brainchild of Hillman Grad Productions’ head of cultural marketing, Marquis Phifér, and a full-circle moment for Lena Waithe, who named her production company after a fictional college from a sitcom on which Allen served as showrunner and producer 122 episodes.

it felt like an escape for me,” Waithe said during a panel discussion moderated by Allen. “When I watched this movie, I obviously wasn’t in highschool yet, but I used to be experiencing college life and what that meant. And that meant community. It meant a chosen family. It also meant involvement in the politics of the time. It taught me a lot; not only about who I used to be as a person of color, but in addition about what it meant to be a good friend. What does it mean to be not only a good student, but in addition a good teacher?

Debbie Allen gives a lesson on harnessing your power at the Hillman Grad Women On The Rise event
Photo: Chris Lowe

Waithe was joined on the panel by Jojo T. Gibbs, star of her BET coming-of-age series, D. Smith, producer and director of the Sundance Audience Award-winning series, and AV Rockwell, winner of the Independent Spirit Award.

During the event, hosted by NAACP Image Award nominee Gia Peppers and featuring aspiring creators in addition to actresses Ashley Blain Featherson-Jenkins, Christina Elmore Duke and Aisha Hinds, each woman spoke about her entry point into Hollywood and key takeaways that they carry with them when reaching the next level of success.

Smith, a former Grammy-nominated record producer, opened up about her experiences sleeping on friends’ couches for 3 years after being shunned by the music industry when she discovered her identity as a transgender woman.

Debbie Allen gives a lesson on harnessing your power at the Hillman Grad Women On The Rise event
Debbie Allen, Lena Waithe, D. Smith, AV Rockwell at the Hilman Grad Honors. Photo: Chris Lowe

“When I passed, people just stopped coming. They stopped calling. And truthfully, I lost the whole lot,” she said.

Looking for a way out of her difficult situation, Smith asked someone to purchase her a camera, after which made her debut documentary about 4 black transgender sex employees.

“The best thing I’ve learned is that you can’t be creative and jealous at the same time,” Smith told the audience. “You have to stop your ego to move because God, the universe literally activates itself by how you act, and you have to humble yourself.”

Debbie Allen gives a lesson on harnessing your power at the Hillman Grad Women On The Rise event
A. V. Rockwell, Jojo T. Gibbs. Photo: Chris Lowe

Gibbs, who began in stand-up and currently stars in , also talked about the personal responsibility that comes with growing fame. “I have been praying and asking God about where I am now for years, since I was a child, and I think it was only recently that I realized the duality of asking God to be a pioneer in the family and the responsibility and expectation and entitlement that comes from some people to that you are able to do what you do,” she said. “Something is going on in your family, they will pay attention to you. Things come up for your friends and you are seen as the one who can handle them. There may be a lot of expectations placed on your shoulders, so you have to learn to set boundaries, but also to put yourself in front of these people, because you were the person appointed to this position and if God puts you in this position, then you are capable of doing it.”

It’s this reality that led Rockwell, who’s currently writing her next screenplay, to redefine her definition of strength, especially as a woman who has needed to be self-sufficient for much of her life.

“Being an artist outside the corporate space doesn’t require routine visits every six months where someone asks, ‘Hey, how are you?’ so I’ve learned to constantly check myself in all the ways that everyone shares. How am I? What do I need to work on? Especially limiting beliefs,” she said. “Yes, there may be a fight going on for our people, but I don’t discover with it. I’m aware of it, I navigate because it appears, but it surely isn’t my identity.

Debbie Allen gives a lesson on harnessing your power at the Hillman Grad Women On The Rise event
photo: Chris Lowe

At the end of the panel, Allen received a framed playbill of the musical through which she began her Broadway profession in 1970, and a framed commencement program for Howard’s graduation ceremony in 1971. Receiving her gifts, Allen said, “I’m 74 years old and busier than ever.” before. I’m working on two movies, a Broadway show, and trying to jot down a memoir.

“I say these things to say that the road goes on and you just have to stay on it,” Allen continued. “Stay in the light and keep going. Keep plowing and stay curious. The things I do not know, I would like to know, and that can keep you perpetually young.

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Eastside Golf and Mercedes-Benz are creating an inclusive future for golf

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Photo by Jensen Larson for Mercedes-Benz

In the world of golf, where tradition often reigns supreme, Golf within the east emerges as a refreshing ray of innovation and inclusivity.

But let’s face it, it isn’t only a black business, it is a profit-making, inclusive and fiery business on the golf course.

Founded by two visionary entrepreneurs, Olajuwon Ajanaku AND Earl Cooper, this dynamic brand pushes the boundaries of sport, fusing culture with the timeless traditions of the green. Their mission: to democratize golf and redefine its image, while creating an area where diversity, creativity and passion converge to challenge the established order.

Ajanaku and Cooper, whose shared vision and entrepreneurial spirit took the brand to latest heights, founded the corporate with the straightforward desire to create golf apparel that reflected their urban upbringing and appealed to a various audience. Today, their vision has evolved right into a thriving movement that celebrates individuality and embraces golf as a tool for self-expression and community empowerment.

The two visionaries crossed paths while working on the golf team at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. As student-athletes, they worked hard, played hard and ultimately brought home a championship. Having already won, it only is sensible that years later, when Ajanaku got here up with the thought to construct a brand that will unite his interests in design, fashion and the sport of golf, he turned to his brother. Combining their shared experiences and aspirations, Ajanaku and Cooper quickly saw the potential for collaboration and synergy between their talents and passions.

Eastside Golf and Mercedes-Benz are creating an inclusive future for golf

“The main reason I started this brand was because I was told no,” says Ajanaku. “No” to my dreams, “no” to the things I desired to do. So I finally decided that if I desired to develop into knowledgeable and needed sponsorship, why not take the entrepreneur route and sponsor myself? That’s once I got here up with the thought for Eastside Golf.

The journey began with a logo depicting Ajanaku mid-swing, adorned with a gold chain and wearing a hoodie. During this time, Ajanaku graduated from highschool, turned skilled golf, and then left the game to develop into a successful vice chairman of a financial company. On the opposite hand, Cooper had already been recognized by Golf Digest as one in all “America’s Best Teachers” and had made a reputation for himself on the PGA, becoming the primary black golf skilled at Detroit Golf Club and then the primary black skilled golfer at Wilmington Country Club, before quitting sports and working within the mayor’s office.

From that pivotal moment, Ajanaku and Cooper began a transformational journey, united of their shared vision of redefining the image of golf and making it more accessible, inclusive and culturally relevant to a various audience.

They are a movement in their very own right, but because of their recent collaboration with Mercedes-Benz, they could be a force together. They have partnered to present three key initiatives to support citizen engagement and promote diversity in sport.

And it is a partnership that just is sensible. For example, Mercedes-Benz, a longtime sponsor of the Masters, allowed Eastside Golf to present the brand a real full-circle moment by welcoming the Morehouse College golf team to a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This opportunity highlighted the exceptional talent of HBCU golf as promising future ambassadors for the sport.

Eastside Golf and Mercedes-Benz are creating an inclusive future for golf

“They were already on the golf course,” Ajanaku says. “It’s like golf’s Super Bowl. So the fact that they’re already here, the fact that they represent luxury, the fact that they were Black women [bringing this partnership forward]there were a lot of things that brought us together.”

This is just one in all several initiatives marking the start of a multi-year partnership between Eastside Golf and Mercedes-Benz with a shared commitment to handle the access and equity challenges common to golf.

Eastside Golf and Mercedes-Benz are creating an inclusive future for golf
Photo by Jensen Larson for Mercedes-Benz

“I don’t think anyone is at this crossroads of culture in golf like Eastside Golf,” says Monique Harrision, director of name marketing at Mercedes-Benz. “Many of us watched and admired what they were doing. Many people continued to come to us and speak on their behalf – not as if they had asked anyone to do so – but rather in a tone of genuine, positive reviews of what they had achieved and the barriers they were breaking down on an ongoing basis.”

Earlier this month, Eastside Golf and Mercedes-Benz USA also unveiled a novel nine-piece women’s capsule collection, providing golfers the chance to showcase their individuality each on and off the green without compromising functionality or fashion. “When you look at fashion itself, who drives it?” says Cooper. “They are black women. But while you take a look at golf, who has never been targeted? They are black women.

This collaborative collection represents Eastside Golf’s inaugural enterprise into women’s apparel and accessories, featuring the brand’s renowned craftsmanship and exquisite attention to detail.

Eastside Golf and Mercedes-Benz are creating an inclusive future for golf
Photo by Jensen Larson for Mercedes-Benz

Central to the ethos of Eastside Golf is an unwavering commitment to difficult stereotypes and breaking down barriers on the earth of golf. It’s something that inspires not only to observe from afar, but to see Black history – our history – being created in real time. Through their modern designs, vibrant aesthetics and unwavering support of diversity and inclusion, Ajanaku and Cooper are redefining what it means to be a golfer within the twenty first century. With every club swing and every item of clothing emblazoned with the long-lasting logo, a whole lot, if not 1000’s, of young Black boys and girls for generations to come back shall be grateful for the impact of their work.


This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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Revolutionary visual artist Faith Ringgold has died at the age of 93

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ENGLEWOOD, NJ – June 7, 2013: Faith Ringgold, 82, political civil rights artist, in her studio at her home in Englewood, New Jersey, on June 7, 2013. Faith Ringgold was one of the leaders of the Movement Black Art of the Sixties gained worldwide fame due to her quilts. “Americans, Black Light: Faith Ringgold Paintings from the 1960s.” is a retrospective of race, reconciliation, activism and feminism from one of the most turbulent periods in American history. (Photo: Melanie Burford/Prime for The Washington Post)

Faith Ringgold, a groundbreaking multidisciplinary artist, has died at the age of 93.

Ringgold’s practice included painting, soft sculpture, and prose, but her experiments with quilting made her unique in the art world. She turned static quilts into powerful stories about the civil rights movement, illustrating scenes of resilience, community and kindness. Using her visual skills allowed her to spread her thoughts into the world without the varnish of others’ plans.

Her talent earned her 23 honorary doctorates. Center for the Study of African American and African Diaspora Visual Arts and Culture David C. Driskell at the University of Maryland learning room dedicated to Ringgold’s cultural contributions.

Revolutionary visual artist Faith Ringgold has died at the age of 93
ENGLEWOOD, NJ – June 7, 2013: Faith Ringgold, 82, political civil rights artist, in her studio at her home in Englewood, New Jersey, on June 7, 2013. Faith Ringgold was one of the leaders of the Movement Black Art of the Sixties gained worldwide fame due to her quilts. “Americans, Black Light: Faith Ringgold Paintings from the 1960s.” is a retrospective of race, reconciliation, activism and feminism from one of the most turbulent periods in American history. (Photo by Melanie Burford/Prime for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Her sometimes autobiographical work inspired generations of artists to boldly engage in politics. For a few years, she didn’t receive the recognition she deserved from the mainstream art world, but that didn’t stop Ringgold from using self-expression to advertise justice. Eventually the culture caught up together with her courage.

Ringgold was born in Harlem, New York, but lived and worked in Englewood, New Jersey. She studied visual arts at City College of New York, earning two degrees in 1955 and 1959.

In November 2023 Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago an exhibition presenting 60 years of Ringgold’s work opened. The institution considered the show date to be “long overdue.”

Her presence has been appreciated by Black women in the arts, and her absence will probably be deeply felt.

Revolutionary visual artist Faith Ringgold has died at the age of 93
Portrait of American artist Faith Ringgold posing in front of one of her paintings, 1999. (Photo: Anthony Barboza/Getty Images)

“Through her amazing children’s books, quilts, paintings and textiles, she visually and boldly told our story; Black people, Black women, Black children,” said Lauren LeBeaux Craig, executive director of Newark Arts and former ED of Art at Atrium. “Her name must always be mentioned among the greats, and her contributions will live forever.”

“From the National Portrait Gallery to the partitions of the New Museum, Faith has woven threads of spirituality, identity and resilience into a worldwide tapestry. She leaves a strong mark on contemporary art, inspiring me and all creators to embrace our stories with courage and creativity.” – Talia Young, CEO Newark Symphony Hallsays ESSENCE.

“Faith Ringgold’s art was a powerful force of truth, resilience, and empowerment that illuminated the African American experience with unparalleled depth and beauty. Her narrative quilts and paintings gave voice to stories that have long been overlooked, particularly the stories of Black women, and challenged us to directly confront the complexities of our society,” said Taneshia Nash Laird, president and CEO, Greater Roxbury Arts and Cultural CenterBoston, MA in one other statement.

Revolutionary visual artist Faith Ringgold has died at the age of 93
A visitor views American artist Faith Ringgold’s work “The Flag is Bleeding #2” (1997) during a show on December 4, 2019, prior to the opening of Miami’s annual Art Basel international fair the following day on the beach during the first week of December. – Climate change, pollution, racial issues and social commentary are just a few of the issues addressed by a whole bunch of artists presented at Art Basel by over 200 galleries from around the world. (Photo: Leila MACOR / AFP) / RESTRICTED FOR EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY ATTENTION TO THE ARTIST AFTER PUBLICATION – TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS IN THE CAPTION (Photo: LEILA MACOR/AFP via Getty Images)

“Faith Ringgold’s art was a powerful force of truth, resilience, and empowerment that illuminated the African American experience with unparalleled depth and beauty. Her narrative quilts and paintings gave voice to stories that have long been overlooked, particularly the stories of Black women, and challenged us to directly confront the complexities of our society,” said Taneshia Nash Laird, president and CEO, Greater Roxbury Arts and Cultural CenterBoston, MA in one other statement.

“Faith Ringgold’s legacy is a testament to the power of art to inspire change, foster understanding and uplift communities. “She will forever be an icon whose impact will continue to echo through the generations she inspired to imagine and create a more just and compassionate world.”

Our thoughts and prayers are with Ringgold’s family, friends and everybody she inspired together with her creativity.

This article was originally published on : www.essence.com
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