Last weekend, in New Orleans, ESSENCE Black Women In Sports, in partnership with Coca-Cola, spotlighted those courageous Black women who catalyze change and are making waves in the sports business to create opportunities for future talent on and off the field/court with our 5th event franchise.
Touchdowns and TurnUp pre and post-shows highlighted how Black women celebrate the Big Game. From enjoying the food, the players, the love for the game, and the epic halftime show, the program was fun, engaging, and exciting for our ESSENCE audience.
We honored luminaries in the sports space during the shows, like Collette V. Smith and Nicole Lynn, with hosts comedian and actress Chaunte Wayans for the pre-show and Elle Duncan.
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For the pre-show, Wayans teamed up with SupaCent to arm our audience with delicious recipes to host guests during the Big Game. SupaCent shared her favorite Jumbolaya pasta dish with us, as she loves making it for game day. Next, we visited Vandal in New Orleans to learn how to create beautifully crafted cocktails and mocktails to enjoy before the game. Eve Marie Haydel, a cocktail enthusiast, showed us how to make delicious drinks with Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.
Notable, ESPN anchor Elle Duncan introduced our honoree, Colette V. Smith, the first Black woman to become a coach in the NFL.
Collette V. Smith received our leadership award; empathically, she gave her acceptance speech. “All my life, I’ve been looking at ESSENCE Magazine to see women that look like me, doing incredible things, and defying the odds, so to receive an award from ESSENCE in the sport’s capacity, I am beyond humbled and honored for this recognition,” she said.
Sportscaster Maria Taylor delved into the historic match-up of two Black quarterbacks competing against each other and noted the difficulty of Black men breaking into the glass ceiling in professional football. It was just 35 years ago when the very first Black quarterback won the Big Game, causing us to reflect on the momentous moment in history.
Elle Duncan also covered a historic win by honoring Nicole Lynn (the first Black woman agent to represent a player for the Big Game). Lynn, a respected disruptor in the sports industry, was elated to receive her award. She said, “Thank you, ESSENCE, so much for my award. I do not take moments like this for granted. It’s so special to be recognized by such an incredible community of women of Black women who continue to raise the bar across multiple industries.”
She continued, “As Black women in this space, specifically in sports, we need to remember the value of mentorship and sponsorship for the next generation that comes behind us.” It’s up to us to continue to pass that torch.”
The post-show was all about our favorite bad gal, Rihanna. Our executive editor and VP of content, Danielle Cadet, weighed in on her epic half-time performance. She commented, “I think anyone who can get on the stage pregnant, and perform the way Rihanna just performed, is iconic.”
She continued, “From a personal standpoint, as a mom considering having a second baby, Rihanna inspired me.”
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ESSENCE fashion editor, Shelton Boyd-Griffith, broke down Rihanna’s looks from head to toe. “It seemed like she was referencing her career. She had a red jumpsuit that was a homage to workwear. And she wore red, a motif that she wears a lot. She wears a lot Alaia a lot too.”
We had a great time covering the Big Game and honoring our Black women in sports down in New Orleans. We look forward to next year!