Icons ranging from Jackie Robinson to Muhammad Ali to Gabby Douglas star in Black History Month vignette
Editor’s note: ESPN celebrates Black History Month throughout February with related programming and content.
Turn up the volume for an uplifting 30-second vignette highlighting some of the top accomplishments by African-American athletes. The “Moment of Loud” vignette, scheduled to debut Monday, Feb. 18 across all ESPN platforms, is part of the network’s annual Black History Month programming.
Bomani Jones, a regular panelist on Around the Horn and other ESPN programs, narrates the “action-packed tribute.” Front Row spoke with the creative team from ESPN’s marketing department, Angelo Mazza and Michael Kopech, and Jones about the project.
How did you get involved with this project?
BJ: I wish there was a long story, but I got a call from ESPN asking if I would be interested in voicing the spots. For me, it was a no-brainer. For many, the significance of Black History Month is waning, which tells me it is more important than ever. Any chance to teach more American history, especially things that may otherwise go overlooked, is something I’m glad to be a part of.
How would you describe the vignette to someone who hasn’t seen it?
MK: I would describe it as a loud, action-packed tribute to some of America’s greatest athletes, past and present. It’s uplifting, intense, and will hopefully strike an emotional chord with all sports fans. The breadth of athletes shown is vast, so pay attention, as you may discover clips of athletes you didn’t notice the first or second time you saw the spot.
Was there anything in particular that you enjoyed about this project?
BJ: Just being asked to do it was a big deal for me. This is an initiative ESPN is firmly behind, which is something we have in common.
Are there any historical athletes you wish you had an opportunity to interview?
BJ: Jackie Robinson. The idea that he showed his courage and temerity both in silence, when required, and with his full voice fascinates me, and I will always be floored by his insistence upon being true to himself no matter what. Robinson easily could have gained access and acclaim, only to become enraptured by the trappings of comfort. He never did, and we were all better for it.
How did this concept and title come about?
AM: Our programming team tasked us with developing a spot for Black History Month. We wanted to do something outside of the box, and worked with one of our creative agencies, 77 Ventures, to develop the concept.
How did you decide on who will be featured in the vignette?
AM: We wanted an accurate representation of athletes who embody what Black History Month is all about. From historic legends such as Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson and Wilma Rudolph, to current stars like RG III [Robert Griffin III], Kevin Garnett and Gabby Douglas, each plays an important role as a pioneer or an athlete currently carrying the torch. There were many others that deserved to be included, and hopefully this spot will spark some discussion about truly great athletes.