In the 1996 track "Can't Knock The Hustle," Jay-Z rapped “all us Blacks got is sports and entertainment, until we even.”
Nearly 25 years later, Black athletes and entertainers have been working to make things even for Black folks this election and beyond. The moves made by Black sports and entertainment figures to empower black voters and reform the criminal justice system may even tip the scales in this year's presidential election.
But activism within sports is nothing new. At the 1968 Olympics, Tommie Smith and John Carlos iconically raised Black power fists. Six years ago, LeBron James and other NBA superstars like Derrick Rose and the late Kobe Bryant were met with indifference from the league for wearing "I Can't Breathe" shirts to protest the lack of charges against the cop who killed Eric Garner. And more recently, in 2016, Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem.
Black celebrities have long been bringing issues to matters of racial injustice. But this year, Black athletes, actors and musicians have gone beyond awareness and have been spearheading specific efforts that tackle systemic racism in policing and inequalities in voting head-on. Here are 10 ways sports stars, musicians and other celebrities are impacting politics, Black voter turnout and criminal justice reform this year.