Sports culture is a widespread space that is typically scornful of women stepping into its light. However, as always, Black women have picked up the ball and ran with it. Women such as Arielle Chambers, Jemele Hill, Maria Taylor, Cari Champion, and others have taken over the sports reporting and journalism arena with intelligence, elegance, and style. Similarly, the look of sports agents has also shifted toward women like Nicole Lynn and Tiffany Porter who represent top athletes in the nation.
It is through women like them and the progressive nature that we possess that has also ushered in a new era of platforms that highlight other Black women changing the game and women who actively play.
For Morgan Jones, a collegiate sports broadcaster and former professional basketball player who fell into depression and substance abuse, the transition into creating a platform and safe space for women athletes was imperative.
“This catapulted me into finding a solution to what was missing in the process as a female athlete, approaching it through the lens—person first, athlete second and how they coincide. I came to find that it was creating intentional spaces for young, current and former female athletes to come together to have the crucial conversation of the female athlete champion, ‘how do I navigate life?’ and most importantly ‘who am I without my sport?’”
As a life coach for women athletes Jones’s “Athletes to Visionaries” sets to help female athletes have a better understanding of who they are outside of the sport.
Jones also told Essence, “Eighty-seven percent of girls’ sports are coached by men; girls and women need to visually see other women excel in various careers. The industry is telling girls to dream big and be a positive role model but then rely on them to navigate what that means as a female in our society. Through our programs and mentorship, we pride ourselves on diverse representation across all sports & backgrounds.”
Representation is always a driving force with Black women looking to navigate many spaces. Either they don’t see themselves or what they see of themselves is not a wide view.
In July of 2018, Harlem-native Khristina Williams created her own platform called, “Girls Talk Sports TV.” Attempting to break into major media outlets, as a Black woman, was tasking and granted room for doing her own thing.
“I created this platform because as a former student-athlete with a degree in journalism, I found it hard to break into the sports broadcasting industry…even with having prior professional reporting experience. I was seeking opportunities from all the major media corporations and wasn’t hearing back from them. It was very discouraging.”
Girls Talk Sports TV is a digital sports media platform that is a combination of interviews, sports news and updates. Williams’ overall mission is to give women a voice and visibility in the sports industry by developing and delivering honest content, told by women.
“It was also important for me to create a sports media platform with content of substance, that went beyond the stats and scores of a game. To bring women from the sidelines to the front and center, and to allow them to have space where they can talk about sports and be taken seriously in a male-dominated industry,” Williams added.
For Alexandria Holt and Tiffany Hubert, Black women working in the NFL, the idea of highlighting other women working in collegiate and professional sports came to fruition through “Sistas In Sports.” Leveraging the power of the digital space, the duo connects with their audience through monthly features, their #SISTASINSPORTS hashtag and “GameDay CheckIns” that showcase women on the move from the NFL, NBA, NCAA and beyond.
“We found that it was difficult to find and connect with women of color in the professional sports world. We wanted to integrate our brand into a space that was already being used by our niche audience—Instagram and Facebook. Since our launch, we have connected and profiled powerful women from all over the world who discover us through word-of-mouth, our hashtag and/or industry news we share.”
In any professional avenue finding platforms and spaces that celebrate you, welcome you, and represent you make navigating the hardships just a bit easier. The vitality of such is telling through this surgence of Black women navigating through their own niche in the sports realm.
Holt and Hubert believe in three c’s.
“Community, connection, and collaboration. No matter how busy life may get for us, there is always room to empower one another and shed light on women making boss moves in our industry.”