Cari Champion And Jemele Hill Shed Light On The Importance Of Teamwork In The Workplace
Honoree Jemele Hill at the inaugural Black Women in Sports | Photo credit Jorge Meza

During the ESSENCE Black Women In Sports Brunch presented by Coca-Cola®, honorees Cari Champion and Jemele Hill got real on industry politics about race and gender. “We were pitted against each other, not by our own doing, but just by the scuttlebutt of the business,” Hill said. “They want us to have this mentality that we have to fight over these crumbs. It’s a whole pie. Why are we fighting over crumbs? We’re all guaranteed a slice. It’s just that the slice might look different than you thought or it might look exactly like you thought.”

“There can only be one, that’s what they make you think–but it’s a lie. Thank God my sister, Jemele Hill, refused to buy into that lie and we became friends,” Champion shared. “They want you to think so we don’t form the power structure that we can. For the ladies in the room, we are not enemies. We are friends.”

From left: Essence CEO Caroline Wanga and host Gia Peppers with honorees Jemele Hill and Cari Champion on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, CA. | Photo credit: Jorge Meza

When asked about the importance of camaraderie and sisterhood in the workplace, singer and TV host Keshia Chante said, “It means a lot to find sisterhood in this industry. I think there’s power in numbers. I love their sisterhood, I love what they said.”

Host of MSNBC’s The Reid Out, Joy Reid added: “Because there are so few Black women in these spaces, it’s incumbent for us to see every Black woman as a prospect to add to the team. It’s never about competition, it’s always about adding.”

“Hearing Cari and Jemele talk about their experience really resonated with me. I was all choked up,” said The Cross Connection host, Tiffany Cross. “I just relish in the space and spirit of Black women and recognizing that when we’re together, we’re a power structure.”

MSNBC’s Joy-Ann Reid (left) and Tiffany Cross attend ESSENCE’s Black Women in Sports brunch on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, CA | Photo credit: Jorge Meza

The event’s emcee, journalist Gia Peppers, believes that people don’t leave jobs, they leave management and horrible teams. “Black women having camaraderie in the workplace is the difference between women knowing they can stay at a hard job and people feeling lonely enough that they have to quit. When we see each other, when we create space for each other, when we show up for each other, we can change the world.”

“I think the visibility is one thing, but it’s the reaching back that I think is most important,” says entertainment reporter Kelley L. Carter. “I think that it’s just so valuable to have women that care about you and to make sure that they’re not the last people who walk through the door behind them.”