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ESPN Commemorates Juneteenth With Multiplatform Content

ESPN is part of the Walt Disney Company’s initiative to celebrate Juneteenth, the June 19 holiday recognizing the end of slavery in America. ABC and National Geographic are among other Disney platforms with dedicated content (see sidebar).

ESPN’s Juneteenth content lineup today – outlined below – is part of its ongoing racial injustice coverage.

The Undefeated, ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture, will present Time for Change: We Won’t be Defeated on Wednesday, June 24 at 8 p.m. ET, with an encore presentation on ESPN2 at 11 p.m. The one-hour primetime special will examine Black athletes’ experiences with injustice and the unifying role that sports continues to play in bridging the divide between law enforcement and people of color in America.

Below is a sampling of ESPN’s wide-ranging Juneteenth content discoverable across sites and networks:

The Undefeated

  • UNDERSTANDING JUNETEENTH: Dr. Kerri Greenidge, an Interim Director, American Studies Program Department of Studies in Race Colonialism, and Diaspora at Tufts University, explains Juneteenth.
  • CORPORATIONS AND JUNETEENTH: Columnist and editor-at-large William Rhoden writes that corporations and others should be cautious not to hijack, co-opt moments like Juneteenth.
  • HOW THE HAWKS HAVE TURNED CONVERSATIONS TO ACTION: Senior NBA Writer Marc J. Spears writes that Atlanta has been at the center of the social justice conversation due to recent events from the death of Ahmaud Arbery to the recent police-involved killing of Rayshard Brooks. The NBA’s Atlanta Hawks have not shied away from the community during this time with coach Lloyd Pierce leading the conversation and marching. The team also declared Juneteenth a paid holiday for employees. He explores how the Hawks are navigating this time and their roles in the city’s healing.
  • ALOE BLACC: In 2019, the Grammy Award-nominated musician Aloe Blacc and The String Queens reimagined “Lift Ev’ry Voice” for The Undefeated (see video above), creating a music video set at Monticello as they performed the song often described as the Black national anthem. In an interview with Blacc this week, he discusses the song and how it remains relevant during this time.
  • ANOTHER ACT: QUEEN LATIFAH: Senior entertainment writer Kelley Carter interviews the actor and rapper about her new film, her relevance as a conscious rapper, Black women in Hollywood and more.
  • AMERICA’S RECKONING WITH RACE: From George Floyd to Breonna Taylor to the coronavirus, America is undergoing a reckoning with race across its most central institutions. We’ve seen these inflection points before: Reconstruction, after WW1, the civil rights movement. Is this moment different — or not?
  • MOVIE REVIEW: “Miss Juneteenth”

JUNETEENTH: A CELEBRATION OF OVERCOMING AIRS TONIGHT ON ABC, NAT GEO

National Geographic will simulcast ABC News’ prime-time special to commemorate Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the end of slavery in America, and examine its symbolism among the Black community and around the nation. Led by a team of ABC News anchors and correspondents including “ABC News Live Prime” anchor Linsey Davis, “Nightline” co-anchor Byron Pitts, correspondents Deborah Roberts, TJ Holmes, Steve Osunsami and Janai Norman, and “The View” moderator Whoopi Goldberg, the one-hour special will feature reporting from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Galveston, Texas and other cities across the country observing the day. Juneteenth: A Celebration of Overcoming airs tonight (8:00 – 9:00 p.m. EDT), on ABC and National Geographic.

ESPN

  • ORIGINS OF JUNETEENTH: Outside the Lines and E:60 host Ryan Smith narrates a feature on the origins of Juneteenth and how the sports community has rallied around it. The feature will air on Get Up and various editions of SportsCenter.
  • ATLANTA HAWKS AND JUNETEENTH: Team part-owner Grant Hill will join the noon SportsCenter to talk about the Hawks designating the day a company holiday.
  • JUNETEENTH VIGNETTES will air across studio programming
  • NATIONAL HOLIDAY DISCUSSION: Dallas Cowboys star Gerald McCoy will join First Take to discuss his push to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
  • ESPN Radio

  • ESPN RADIO AND THE UNDEFEATED PRESENT: THE INTERSECTION: The Undefeated columnist Clinton Yates and SportsCenter anchor Elle Duncan lead the conversation on the confluence of sports and social justice topics on the show’s debut tonight 8-10 p.m. ET. The show will air on Thursday nights from 8-10 p.m. ET going forward.
  • GUESTS: Throughout network programming, guests scheduled to discuss Juneteenth include Yates, Duncan, Mike Tirico, Mike Norvell, ESPN commentator Bomani Jones and Dr. Scott Brooks.
  • JUNETEENTH VIGNETTES will air across the network throughout the day.
  • ESPN.com

  • THE UNDEFEATED CONTENT listed above will be featured, including Rhoden’s feature on corporations and Juneteenth.
  • SC FEATURED: “The Black 14”: In 1969, the Wyoming football team dismissed 14 Black players for wanting to wear armbands protesting what they perceived to be several racial injustices by a conference foe. Read more on Front Row.
  • ESPN FILMS: “Redemption Song“: How Howard University earned back the NCAA soccer title in 1974.
  • espnW

  • MAYA MOORE: espnW senior writer Katie Barnes writes about the WNBA legend’s quest for justice.

    ESPN Audio

  • ESPN DAILY: MAYA MOORE: Barnes and host Mina Kimes discuss Maya Moore’s retirement from the NBA to pursue social justice causes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: In February 2019, Front Row featured a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Undefeated’s “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing” featuring Aloe Blacc and The String Queens. Blacc is featured in the video below.

Sharon Matthews produced the videos.

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