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5 Reasons To Watch: ESPN The Undefeated “Black History Always” Collection

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5 Reasons To Watch: ESPN The Undefeated “Black History Always” Collection

June 18
14:30 2021

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In a world where there are many content offerings to choose from, the issue of “relevance” serves as a critical factor in determining whether viewers will tune in and stay tuned in. To many, Black history has been and remains misunderstood because Black history is more than stories and rituals shared by Black people for Black people during specific periods of the year. Black history is always — it remains relevant for all people.

Fortunately, the value and importance of Black history and culture are understood and appreciated by certain programmers, networks, publishers, and advertisers. As the premier television network in sports, ESPN understands the fact that true history, inclusive of Black history, is undefeated. Hence, ESPN+ brings multiplatform content via the Undefeated “Black History Always” initiative to explore the intersections of sports, race, and culture. Celebrating themes of the everyday acts of bravery and sacrifice that have always been the engine of Black progress, and highlighting the unsung role of Black women in the struggle for full equality, The Source supports and salutes ESPN in their efforts to sharpen and strengthen the cultural ties that brings us all together. We, too, believe that Black History is not limited to only one month a year.

1. One month is not enough

Black history is not only important during the month of February (coincidentally, the shortest month of the year). It’s important each and every day. Black history is a monumental part of world history and American history that impacts almost every aspect of human society, and it cannot be erased. From the origins of humanity, kingdoms and civilizations formed, the scientific innovations, heroic explorations, human suffrages, protests for humanity, advancements in the arts, culture, health, technology, sports, and more. Every day, Black history is being made as we live through it and shape it directly. Understanding the profound challenges and successes of Black people will impact future generations’ attitudes and value systems. It will also lead to respect and kindness that is much needed today and in the future. 

2. Cultural Empowerment

For people of African ancestry, Back History is a celebration of our success stories. Success and leadership are not limited to the entertainment and sports industries, as many misunderstand. To dive into the traditions and journey through Black History, awakens and empowers many with the cultural understanding and light on those innovators and history makers who helped shaped the world for generations. Throughout history, countless men and women have created, contributed, and inspired culture, from Africa to Europe and here in America, in ways that uplifts and radiates yet these stories and historical facts, big and small, have been covered or mitigated. Celebrating and sharing these stories are inspiring to people from all walks of life and show the cultural connection that empowers us throughout human history.  

3.  Black History is More Than Slavery

The Transatlantic Slave Trade and other slave trade missions were indeed an important and tragic part of Black and human history. However, Black History’s extraordinary depth and scope call for a much more expansive presentation of it. From the 1600s to now, there is much more to discuss and cover beyond the slave narratives in America. While it should not be ignored, slavery should not be the sole or primary focus of Black History, as the culture is always creating new stories, achievements, challenges and contributions to society. New history-makers are created daily and Black History must cover more than just slavery and the civil rights periods in America. Our lives wouldn’t be the same if our ancestors did not protest and take risks to disrupt the system and effect change; likewise, our lives would not be the same now if modern day leaders and innovators do not continue to advance the struggle for freedom, justice equity and inclusion. Black History is more than slavery and Black culture is more than just sports and entertainment.

4. Knowledge is power

Throughout history in America, Black people have had to fight for the right to learn. Years ago, there were strong and violent prohibitions for Blacks to obtain knowledge and share it with their children and community at large. Blacks were also prohibited from attending certain schools. Likewise, non-Black people were fed misinformation on the heroic journey of Black people. The ability to have an education is one of the most powerful gifts in life, no matter what color of your skin. In today’s multi-media society, people are gaining knowledge from many platforms beyond books of scholarship such as television, radio, websites, podcasts, social media, etc. Influencers are now using these platforms to share their knowledge, especially in the wide world of sports. Whether exploring the key locations in Black History, celebrating the legendary moments and milestones in history, or simply appreciating the inspirational works of Black athletes, artists, and influencers, knowledge is powerful. Celebrating powerful Black people that have impacted and made a difference in our world brings awareness and promotes diversity to show that anyone regardless of race or age can contribute and do something impactful for the culture and can be recognized for it. 

5. Darnella Frazier

The courageous young lady who filmed the murder of George Floyd is the focus of the latest addition to the Black History Always collection in a film called “I Bear Witness”. It was just a walk to the store with her cousin on May 25, 2020, that put her on the scene to witness and capture cell phone footage that sparked a charge all over the world in the fight for truth and justice. The 30-minute program will be seen through the eyes of Frazier’s community and people around the country, including the sports world that was impacted by her video. Tune-in. 

Explore ESPN+’s The Undefeated “BLACK HISTORY ALWAYS” initiative expanding on Black History month and deepening Black History all year long across all ESPN+’s and The Undefeated platforms. “This initiative will highlight moments and stories on and off the field that empower and inspire; moments of athletic heroism and moral heroism; moments that signify change and progress, and moments that show us how much work is still to be done. We want to show Black fans that we are always there for them, we represent and reflect them, and we celebrate and appreciate them.” stated Raina Kelley, Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Undefeated, ESPN’s multimedia content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture. 

For more stories around mental health in sports, visit the Black History Always collection on The Undefeated on ESPN+

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