A new spot from Nike that debuted this weekend in time for International Women’s Day honors the seemingly “magical” accomplishments of Black women by highlighting that the successes are not magic at all—they’re the result of the “blood, sweat and tears” the women put into excelling at whatever game they’re playing—whether it’s on the field, the court or the everyday world.
The spot features scenes of top athletes excelling at their game, including tennis pros Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, stars of the WNBA and Women’s U.S. Soccer team and track and field athlete Caster Semenya, interspersed with clips of Black Lives Matter activists, NASA astronaut Mae C. Jemison and late Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm.
It's all backed by a voiceover from actor Dominique Fishback (“Show Me a Hero,” “The Deuce”) reading spoken-word verse:
Even when the world tells us it’s never going to be enough, we’ve got that thing—that hooping, soccer-playing, game-changing, oh-so-resilient, double-a outing, butterfly-stroking thing. We worked for all this. You thought history made itself? Nah, this ain’t magic. This is the real thing.
The spot then ends with the tag, “We Play Real,” followed by the line, “Level the playing field for Black women."
The effort also includes a social push with NBA athletes, who will use their Instagram handles to help uplift Black women who have made a significant impact on sport, society and culture. The pairings include LeBron James of the L.A. Lakers, who will share a story from Las Vegas Aces’ A’ja Wilson; Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors, who will get the word out on Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics and the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant, who will support Shelly Bell, the founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures.
Black Girl Ventures is also the latest benefactor of the combined $140 million investment from Nike, Converse, Jordan Brand and Michael Jordan addressing racial inequality. The organization will receive $500,000 to go toward supporting entrepreneurship of those who identify as Black and Brown-woman founders.