Woke author Ibram X. Kendi has launched a new ESPN+ show on ‘racism in the sports world’ – despite Disney boss Bob Iger’s recent vow that the company would ‘quiet the noise’ over culture war controversies.
‘Skin in the Game with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi,’ which premiered last month on ESPN+, explores the intersection of racism and sports through interviews with athletes, experts, and journalists.
Kendi, 41, known as a scholar and ‘anti-racist author,’ expressed his hope that the series would shed light on the enduring challenges of racism in both sports and society.
‘I hope that people are able, through the series, to not just see their favorite athletes, but also see the lingering challenges of racism in sports and society,’ Kendi told Axios.
Last week, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger claimed the company would ‘quiet the noise’ around cultural issues because it has shown to be bad for business – as the company remains locked in a legal spat with Ron DeSantis.
His new series comes after Kendi was forced to lay off multiple employees at Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, where he’s a professor and founding director
Kendi, whose best-selling books on racism have faced bans in some schools due to conservative objections, is expanding his reach with this sports-focused project and an upcoming Netflix documentary
‘Skin in the Game with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi,’ is a joint production between ESPN+ Originals, Andscape, Religion of Sports, and Kendi’s Maroon Visions.
The five-episode series confronts critical subjects, such as the mental health of Black women athletes, the role of Latinos in baseball and the portrayal of race by sports journalists.
Kendi, whose best-selling books on racism have faced bans in some schools due to conservative objections, is expanding his reach with this sports-focused project and an upcoming Netflix documentary.
The American Library Association has identified his book, ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,’ co-authored with Jason Reynolds, as one of the most frequently challenged at schools and libraries.
The series features contributions from notable figures such as W. Kamau Bell and Jemele Hill, with each episode concluding in a roundtable discussion moderated by Kendi.
The show draws from ESPN footage as participants critique sports coverage and engage in discussions on bias and other related issues.
Reflecting on his journey, Kendi, who once aspired to be a sports reporter, shared how his early exposure to sports prompted him to question the underlying conditions fostering racism.
He emphasized to Axios that understanding racism is a complex matter, with layers that often go unnoticed.
‘There are ways in which we all understand the ways in which we understand racism is operating, and there are ways in which we don’t,’ he said to Axios.
On November 15, Netflix is set to release the documentary ‘Stamped from the Beginning,’ based on Kendi’s book of the same name.
Kendi, 41, known as a scholar and ‘anti-racist author,’ expressed his hope that the series would shed light on the enduring challenges of racism in both sports and society
Woke activist Ibram X. Kendi’s Antiracist Research Center at Boston University laid off almost half his staff. Former and current staff alleged that the center had been poorly managed by Kendi
His new series comes after Kendi was forced to lay off multiple employees at Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, where he’s a professor and founding director.
The institution was founded after George Floyd’s tragic murder in 2020. The center’s mission includes the creation of a nationwide racial disparities tracker.
However, it has been surrounded by allegations of dysfunction and employee mistreatment, which Kendi has vigorously denied.
Boston University announced an inquiry last week into Dr Ibram X. Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research amid claims of ‘exploitative’ working conditions and bad management.
Complaints were received after the celebrity author laid off up to 20 of the organization’s staff of 45 last week.
Kendi – who won awards for his ultra woke bestseller ‘How to be an Antiracist’ – is now under a formal investigation by BU over his research center’s ‘culture’ and ‘grant management practices’.
Rachel Lapal Cavallario, Associate Vice President, said: ‘We received complaints after the Center for Antiracist Research recently laid off a number of employees. Those complaints focused on the center’s culture and its grant management practices.
‘We previously initiated an examination of those grant management practices and that will continue. Based on additional information provided to us, we are expanding our inquiry to include the Center’s management culture and the faculty and staff’s experience with it.
During an investor meeting last week, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company will ‘quiet the noise’ around culture issues, focus on making content that is entertaining
Disney remains in a legal battle with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis after he called the company ‘woke’ for criticizing his so called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill
Known for his outspoken ‘woke’ commentaries on race and discrimination, Kendi remains a frequent target of conservative criticism on social media.
His involvement with the ESPN+ series underscores Disney’s commitment to addressing issues of race and diversity despite contentious clashes with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the company’s ‘woke’ policies.
The release came despite Iger’s announcement that Disney would ‘quiet the noise’ around cultural issues because it has shown to be bad for business.
Iger’s comments at an investor meeting are the latest update in the ongoing saga between Disney and DeSantis after the company protested Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill which bans sexual and gender curricula for public-school students.
Disney had threatened to pull back its $17 billion investment in the sunshine state unless DeSantis stopped his political attacks on the company.
After Disney criticized the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, the governor shot back against the company and accused them of being ‘woke,’ which they argue was a First Amendment violation.
DeSantis targeted Disney’s special tax district, replaced the board of it with is allies and led the charge to change the name from the Reedy District to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
Before the DeSantis-picked board took control, Disney created development contract for future investments. Those were thrown-out by the new board, which led to a federal lawsuit.
Earlier this month Disney dropped a massive chunk of its federal lawsuit against the Florida Governor.
They asked a federal judge for permission to file an amended complaint focusing just on the First Amendment claim, which has been approved.
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