Ahead of tonight’s NBA All-Star Game, Nike has debuted a short film that honors the impact of black women on sports and other industries.
Narrated by actress and playwright Dominique Fishback, the minute-long video titled “We Play Real” aims to highlight the accomplishments of black female athletes and performers while “celebrating their resilience to lead the world forward,” said Nike in a press release. Athletes spotlighted in the film include WNBA players A’ja Wilson and Jewell Lloyd, NWSL player Crystal Dunn, tennis champion Serena Williams and Olympic runner Sha’Carri Richardson, among others. Additionally, it showcases the Alabama State University Honey Beez, a group of student dancers that perform at games and university functions.
The film also references instances in which these women have used their platform to promote racial justice, such as the time Naomi Osaka drew attention to the killing of Breonna Taylor by wearing a mask adorned with her name on day one of the U.S Open in September.
Coinciding with the video, Nike will be hosting a social campaign designed to elevate black voices and a pitch competition in partnership with Black Girl Ventures — a non-profit organization that aims to provide black and brown woman-identifying founders with access to community and capital. Through the social campaign, NBA athletes including Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will use their Instagram handles to support black women who are impacting sports and society. These women, which include WNBA players A’ja Wilson, Jewell Lloyd and Diamond DeShields as well as Black Girl Ventures founder Shelly Bell, will also post their success stories.
As part of Nike and its umbrella brands’ $140 million investment in addressing racial inequality, the Swoosh will be investing $500,000 in Black Girl Ventures.
The brand says it will continue to deliver content throughout 2021 that celebrates black women and demonstrates how all aspects of culture can be more inclusive.
In the wake of national unrest following the death of George Floyd last May, Nike has released a series of initiatives to promote racial equality, including its monetary investments as well as a powerful video message condemning racism and injustice. Nike spokesperson Sandra Carreon-John also told FN in July that the company has been working aggressively over the past few years to enhance D&I, as well as overall race relations within its own organization.