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Nike Joins With Black Girl Ventures, WNBA Superstars to Celebrate Black Women Leaders

A’ja Wilson, Arike Ogunbowale, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant highlight campaign to amplify change-makers in sports, culture, and society

In partnership with Nike.

Like never before, sports mean so much more than standings, rankings, and box scores. In the long march toward dignity and justice for Black lives, the power of an athlete to create change extends far beyond those painted lines.

With each new day comes a new opportunity for Black voices to make themselves heard in our communities and our world — but Black women face unique challenges when it comes to achieving visibility and recognition. That’s why Nike has joined with Black Girl Ventures and the superstars of the WNBA to celebrate Black women who make an impact that’s bigger than basketball.

Via @aja22wilson on Instagram

Starting March 7th, six WNBA ballers and Black Girl Ventures founder and CEO Shelly Bell are taking center court. Each joined by one of their superfans from the NBA, they will use their platforms on Instagram to lift inspirational Black women and celebrate their success stories across sport, culture, and society.

How’s this for an All-Star starting lineup?

  • Reigning WNBA MVP A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces & LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Black Girl Ventures’ Shelly Bell and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets
  • Two-time WNBA champion Jewell Lloyd of the Seattle Storm & Kyrie Irving of the Brooklyn Nets
  • WNBA All-Star Diamond DeShields of the Chicago Sky & the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis
  • Dallas Wings All-WNBA First Teamer Arike Ogunbowale & Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks
  • Three-time WNBA All-Star Kayla McBride of the Minnesota Lynx and Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers
  • WNBA champion Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics & the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green

To support this campaign, Nike’s also dishing out two big assists: A pitch competition co-organized by Black Girl Ventures will provide access to capital for Black and Brown woman-identifying trailblazers, while a new film, We Play Real, highlights the many faces of Black women leaders through their stories of toughness and perseverance in service to their communities. 

Narrated by Dominique Fishback, We Play Real launched on Sunday, March 7th.

These new initiatives — including a $500,000 investment in Black Girl Ventures to expand its reach, technology infrastructure, and brand visibility — are the latest steps forward in Nike’s ongoing $140 million effort to fight back against racial inequality.

Sport is a powerful engine for social change — and that work must begin at the grassroots level. On our blocks. In our back yards. Partnering with organizations like Sport dans la VilleWomen Win, and Gurls Talk, Nike is on a mission to break down the barriers that prevent girls all over the world from participating in organized sports, from coaching to social stigma to equipment access.

Working alongside the NAACP, Black Girl Ventures, and WNBA icon Maya Moore’s “Win With Justice” campaign, Nike strives to turn consciousness into action by hitting the streets with community organizing efforts, including providing millions of dollars in grants to support change-makers and social causes seven US cities: Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, New York, Portland, and St. Louis.

The road to justice is a long one; no one should have to walk it alone. Throughout 2021 and beyond, Nike is among those profoundly committed to amplifying Black women’s voices and celebrating the stories of empowerment, creativity, and drive that have the power to resonate from our home communities to the far corners of the world.

Join Boardroom in a discussion on Clubhouse Monday, March 8th at 8 p.m. ET to chat about Black women in sports, including career highlights and opportunities for others in the sports business. Shelly Bell, Natasha Cloud, Midge Purce, WNBPA executive director Terri Jackson, and more special guests will join Boardroom’s Ros Gold-Onwude for a conversation presented by Nike. Find more info here.

To learn more about Black Girl Ventures and submit an application for funding, visit https://www.blackgirlventures.org.

To learn more about Nike’s campaign to address racial inequality, visit https://purpose.nike.com/our-commitment-to-the-black-community.