The Undefeated Presents: A Room of Our Own One-Hour TV Special on the Connection between Black Athletes and Music – Feb. 28 on ESPN

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The Undefeated Presents: A Room of Our Own One-Hour TV Special on the Connection between Black Athletes and Music – Feb. 28 on ESPN

  • Hosted by musicians Freddie Gibbs, Jensen McRae and Tinashe
  • NBA’s Damian Lillard and WNBA’s Natasha Cloud are among athletes interviewed
  • Special performance of songs from The Undefeated/Hollywood Records’ “Music for the Movement” series

ESPN will televise The Undefeated Presents: A Room of Our Own, a one-hour special that explores the connection that Black athletes have with music and the impact of that association in powering social movements. The program will debut Sunday, Feb. 28, at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN, with an encore presentation Sunday, March 7 at 4 p.m. on ABC.

Musicians Freddie Gibbs, Jensen McRae, and Tinashe, all of whom are featured on The Undefeated’s “Music for the Movement” Volumes I and II, will host the special. Gibbs and Tinashe are among the headliners on Vol. II, to be released Friday, Feb. 26. McRae was featured in Vol. I of The Undefeated music series, which was released in October 2020.

A Room of Our Own will focus on how music inspires Black athletes to drive change in their communities, and highlight some of the athletes who have been at the forefront of social change, using their voices to express the range of emotions – anger, outrage, hope and promise – in the struggle for racial justice. The program will combine narrative storytelling, taped conversations and roundtable discussions with performances of songs from The Undefeated music series. Trailer.

“Music has the power to lift and inspire. We hope this special is a motivator to create art and create change wherever you are,” said Kevin Merida, ESPN Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Undefeated.

A soundstage (Goya Studios in Hollywood, Calif.) provides the backdrop for performances by Alex Isley, who will cover People Get Ready, and McRae, who sings the Billie Holiday classic Strange Fruit – both songs on The Undefeated Music for the Movement Vol. I.  Highlights:

  • Washington Mystic guard Natasha Cloud – who decided to forgo the 2020 WNBA season to be on the front lines of social justice reform – has a conversation with McRae about finding her voice in protests and music
  • Singer/songwriter Darius Rucker (Hootie & the Blowfish) speaks with The Undefeated senior writer Jesse Washington about protests and patriotism
  • Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard talks about the music that motivates him and how growing up in Oakland impacted his life
  • Award-winning sports columnist and The Undefeated’s William Rhoden pens an essay on the exploitation of Black bodies in sports and music
  • SportsCenter anchor Stan Verrett hosts a conversation with songstress Alex Isley, daughter of former Isley Brothers singer Ernie Isley, on the impact of the Black Power Movement.
  • A roundtable discourse with gymnasts – Trinity Thomas and Nya Reed (University of Florida), Kiya Johnson (LSU), Lynnzee Brown (University of Denver) and Margzetta Frazier (UCLA) – on why representation matters.

A Room of Our Own is directed by the Brooklyn, N.Y., based award-winning team of Jamaal Parham and Bashan Aquart, popularly known as JamsxBash. Executive producers are Michael Fountain, senior coordinating producer, and Sharon Matthews, director for original content and production, both with The Undefeated.

The project is one of the signature programs in ESPN’s company-wide Black History Always content initiative, powered by The Undefeated. A Room of Our Own is The Undefeated’s 13th television special since its launch in May 2016. By combining town halls on topical community conversations with in-depth examinations of key trends and issues affecting the Black community, The Undefeated has produced timely and impactful programming on ESPN linear television networks. Highlights: A Discourse on Athletes, Responsibility and Violence in Chicago (August 2016); A Conversation with The President: Sports, Race and Achievement with President Barack Obama (October 2016); and a look at the emerging prominence of African-American quarterbacks in the National Football League (February 2020).

In addition, Time for Change: We Won’t be Defeated examined racial injustice in America (June 2020), The Stop: Living, Driving and Dying While Black (October 2020); and the critically acclaimed look at Tiger Woods complex racial identity in Tiger Woods: America’s Son last November.

The Undefeated is ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersection of sports, race and culture. The digital hub, TheUndefeated.com, which launched in May 2016, combines innovative long-form and short-form storytelling, investigation, original reporting and provocative commentary to enlighten and entertain African Americans, as well as sports fans seeking a deeper understanding of black athletes, culture and related issues.

In addition to its cutting-edge content, The Undefeated seeks to be a thought-leader on race, sports and culture in the country – convening insightful forums to discuss and debate topical issues affecting sports and race in America.

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Mac Nwulu

I joined ESPN in 1998 and since then, it's been a great experience managing PR and communications for a range of ESPN initiatives and properties, including soccer, NFL and The Undefeated, ESPN’s site focusing on sports, race and urban culture and how they intersect.
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