A Nod To Black Excellence: Check Out The Black History Always Collection On ESPN+
February 24, 2022 at 6:16 pm
Each fall, HBCUs engage in a week-long festivity known as homecoming. Whether down in Atlanta on the yard of Morehouse College, blazing past the waters to get to Florida A&M University or anywhere in between, students, alumni and more come together from all around for a found family reunion. It’s in this space that sports and culture collide to celebrate the history and current accolades of these beloved institutions.
From the perfect syncopation of the drumline to the various tents infused with the smell of BBQ and fried fish, Black culture is on full display for thousands to experience year after year. This celebration of Black culture through the lens of HBCUs has translated to the global stage. Beyonce changed the game at Coachella with a homecoming theme. Two Chainz did a full-on roll call of HBCUs under the sample of an HBCU band in his 2020 hit “Money Maker.” And we can’t forget iconic southern duo Outkast and its 2006 song “Morris Brown,” which was the first educational institution to be owned and operated by Black people in Georgia.
While HBCU culture thrives in Black culture, its impact is only a fraction of the influence Black people have on the world. American culture can’t make a move without the inclusion of Black culture, and this is doubly true in sports. As far back as anyone can go, it’s impossible to pinpoint a sport genre that hasn’t been impacted by Black excellence.
ESPN recognizes the impact and has committed itself to sharing Black stories for over 25 years. As part of its Black History Always initiative, ESPN+ offers a curated collection of films, documentaries and original content that explores the various contributions of Black athletes, entertainers and personalities. Here’s some of the content you can expect from the Black History Always Collection.
UNINTERRUPTED’s More Than an Athlete
Currently, in its second season, UNINTERRUPTED’s More Than an Athlete features in-depth insight on Pro Football Hall of Famer, Michael Strahan. The series explores the range that exists in his career beyond football. With frequent critiques that would suggest athletes just “shut up and play,” this exploration displays how impactful Strahan’s humanity is beyond the football field he once dominated. From his personal life to business ventures, this content will give you an inside look at how Strahan is more than his sports ability.
Why Not Us
Why Not Us takes the viewer into the facilities of some of the most well-respected HBCU athletic programs. While HBCU culture and tradition are rich, funding doesn’t always measure up to that legacy. However, students still make the intentional choice to be a part of these historic programs to advance their athletic careers.
30 for 30 Library: Breakaway
During this series, veteran Sports Center anchor Sage Steele conducts one-on-one interviews with some of the world’s biggest athletes. Each episode is packed with personal and insightful stories from the most-recognized names in the game.
Deion's Double Play
There are few people with an athletic resume like Deion Sanders. As the current head football coach at Jackson State University, Sanders is consistently advancing the culture. In this film, you get to see how, in a 24-hour period, Sanders played two sports in two different cities, thousands of miles apart.
30 for 30 Library: Rodman: For Better or Worse
Part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 Library: Rodman: For Better or Worse gives a candid look at one of the most eclectic players to ever enter the NBA. Known for his defensive prowess and his off-court shenanigans, Dennis Rodman is one of the most memorable athletes in sports history.
There are very few court cases that took the world by storm like the O.J. Simpson trial. Once a beloved Heisman winner and NFL superstar, Simpson’s world came to a halt after the murder of his former wife Nicole Brown. Through this Finding Free docuseries, Made in America, you will explore the rise and fall of Simpson and how this case is forever woven in the fiber of American culture.
A Love Letter to Black Women
The Undefeated, ESPN’s multi-platform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture, produced this 30-minute show as an ode to mothers, daughters, aunties and countless others within the sisterhood of the Black community. Black women are the real superheroes, and this show is the first Black History Always programming dedicated to honoring their impact on the world.
Whether it’s the scoring celebrations displayed as Black Boy Joy or the excellence in action known as Black Girl Magic, no one can doubt the effect Black people have on sports and culture. To see captivating content and learn pieces of history we all deserve to know, check out the Black History Always collection streaming on ESPN+.