Thursday, December 9, 2021

Jemele Hill Plans ESPN Exit to Focus on ‘Institutionalized Racism’

Jemele Hill at #MaybornLitCon18

*After 12 years at ESPN, Jemele Hill is making plans to quit the world of sports for life behind the camera; focusing on stories about race and gender.

Hill made her announcement from the stage Sunday at OZY Fest held in New York City, according to

The Detroit-native told the audience that she would no longer “stick to sports” and will leave ESPN to go into commentary about race and gender full time.

Earlier this year, Jemele moved from her role as host of the 6 p.m. “SportsCenter” on ESPN specifically to tackle issues of race and gender in sports at the company’s “Undefeated” platform.

That move was prompted after she called Donald Trump a white supremacist on Twitter, and in another post, she suggested fans boycott NFL advertisers in order to get the organization to understand the voice behind social injustice. The latter netted Hill a suspension.

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“Even before everything happened, I was already in the mindset of wondering what was next,” she says. She had planned to wait out her contract. But her suspension and the backlash “have made me think about it sooner and [to] plot out what the next 10–15 years of my life would be.”

Hill sees an opportunity to give voice to underserved people, particularly women of color. Because Black women have “always had to take the back seat to everything, the fight in our community is about dismantling institutional racism” and ”we still have to deal with sexual violence and misogyny.”

But the challenging part is that these issues are “never on the agenda because institutionalized racism are items 1-10.”

Jemele aims to change that.

“It must be nice,” she quipped. “There’s many a day I wish I could punch a button and just say, ‘I’m not going to be Black today. I’m not going to be a woman today.’”

But Hill knows that’s a luxury she doesn’t have.

She also noted that the sports crowd can’t understand that “it’s never just been about sports. Jackie Robinson integrated baseball 20 years before the civil rights act passed.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.



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