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SXSW 2021

The WNBA Playbook For How To Lead a Movement

We are in a moment of racial reckoning. And the WNBA has been best positioned to navigate the sensitivities of this moment because they have been here before. In fact, the WNBA’s very existence is political. Women playing professional basketball and demanding equitable investment and working conditions is protest. And so the organization has the audacity to lead a contemporary cultural movement, because of its Blackness and intersectional collectivism, and the unprecedented commodification of its advocacy. Explore in this discussion how the WNBA is a direct challenge to outdated marketing logic that sees outspoken athletes as a brand liability, and how their vocal, clear, and unyielding game plan has given activism a path to follow.

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  1. The WNBA's ability to center Blackness has helped it lead this current social justice movement.
  2. Intersectional collectivism is the root of social justice advocacy success.
  3. Authenticity breeds unprecedented commodification of social justice advocacy.



Nefertiti Walker, Chief Diversity Officer/Professor/Ceo, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Meta Information:

  • Tags: Sports
  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: A New Urgency
  • Level: Beginner
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