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Women and Sports with Wendy Hilliard | Black America

October 25, 2019


♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪ >>>THANKS FOR JOINING US. I’M CAROL JENKINS, THE PROGRAM IS “BLACK AMERICA.” AND TODAY WE’RE TALKING ABOUT WOMEN AND SPORTS. WITH US TO GIVE US AN IDEA OF HOW MUCH PROGRESS WE’VE MADE, A WOMAN WHO PROBABLY KNOWS MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE, WENDY HILLIARD WAS THE FIRST BLACK WOMAN TO REPRESENT THE U.S. ON THE RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS NATIONAL TEAM. STAYED THERE FOR NINE YEARS. INDUCTED INTO THE GYMNASTICS HALL OF FAME IN 2008. AND IS VERY MUCH INVOLVED IN THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF WOMEN AND GIRLS IN SPORTS. IN EVERY ASPECT OF IT I MIGHT ADD. YOU’RE, YOU KNOW, A RENAISSANCE WOMAN WHEN IT COMES TO WOMEN AND SPORTS. >>THANK YOU. AND I’M VERY EXCITED TO BE HERE.>>IT’S JUST GREAT. NINE YEARS, NOW, THAT HAS TO BE A RECORD. >>IT’S CLOSE. IT MAY STILL BE A RECORD, BUT IT’S A LONG TIME TO BE ON THE NATIONAL TEAM. >>AND YOU STARTED WHEN YOU WERE? >>I STARTED GYMNASTICS AT 12. >>AT 12. >>YEAH, SO IT WAS MY PASSION. IT REALLY WAS MY PASSION. RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS WAS NEW IN THE UNITED STATES, AND SO I JUST — IT GAVE ME THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRAVEL THE WORLD AND REACH THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SPORTS. IT’S GREAT. >>I HAVE A FEELING YOU MENTIONED TRAVEL THE WORLD BEFORE YOU SAY REACHED THE HIGHEST LEVEL OF SPORTS, SO IT WAS A LIFE BROADENING EXPERIENCE. >>DEFINITELY. >>SO TELL US, I ASK EVERY GUEST, WHERE DO YOU PLACE YOURSELF IN BLACK AMERICA? WHERE WERE YOU BORN? WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? THE MAJOR INFLUENCES THAT MADE YOU A ROCK STAR IN SPORTS ARENA. >>WOW. THAT’S A HEAVY QUESTION. WELL, I AM BORN AND RAISED IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN. A PROUD, YOU KNOW, PRODUCT OF THE DETROIT RECREATION DEPARTMENT. THAT’S WHERE I LEARNED MY GYMNASTICS. SO I REALLY FEEL IT’S THE STORY — I THINK ABOUT IT NOW BECAUSE WE’RE GOING BACK TO EXPAND OUR GYMNASTICS PROGRAMS THERE. SO I GO BACK TO DETROIT A LOT. MY MOM STILL HAS HER HOUSE THERE. BUT IT WAS REALLY STRONG BECAUSE IT WAS THE ’70s. IT WAS A VERY INTERESTING TIME IN DETROIT. SO MY INFLUENCE WAS EVERYBODY IN THE CITY. YOU KNOW, I GREW UP HAD A BLACK MAYOR MOST OF THE TIME THAT I WAS THERE. ALL OF THE PEOPLE THAT HAD, YOU KNOW, COME TO MIGRATION FROM THE SOUTH, THEY HAD THIS OPPORTUNITY KIND OF AFTER THE RIOTS TO REALLY CREATE DETROIT. AND I’M REALIZING NOW HOW IMPORTANT IT WAS TO MY BACKGROUND THAT IT GAVE ME THIS OPPORTUNITY TO DO THESE VERY INTERESTING THINGS. I AM HEAD OF THE RECREATION DEPARTMENT, HIREED FOUR COACHES FROM THE FORMER SOVIET UNION TO TEACH GYMNASTICS THERE AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, BOOM, WE HAD THIS TEAM. AND WITHOUT MY FAMILY, MY FATHER HAS PASSED BUT MY MOM IS 92, AND SHE WAS SO INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO REALLY FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT BECAUSE IT WASN’T ALWAYS EASY FOR ME. >>BUT THEY WERE NOT ATHLETES THEMSELVES. >>THEY WEREN’T. >>BUT SAW IT AS A PATH FOR YOU. >>THEY DID AND THEY SUPPORTED IT. YOU HAVE TO WONDER MY MOTHER ALWAYS SAID HER FRIENDS SAID, WENDY, YOU’RE LETTING YOUR CHILD GO TO CALIFORNIA WITH THIS UKRAINIAN WOMAN AND TRAVEL TO BULGARIA? SO SHE HAD FAITH IN MY COACHES AND ME. I HAVE A VERY HIGH ACHIEVING FAMILY, I DIDN’T REALLY REALIZE THAT UNTIL LATER, BUT ALL THESE INFLUENCES MADE A DIFFERENCE IN MY LIFE. >>WELL, WE’VE GOT A CLIP OF YOU WHEN YOU WERE DOING — WE ASKED YOU TO DO IT ON THE WAY INTO THE STUDIO TODAY. YOU SAID MAYBE ON THE WAY OUT, BUT LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE CLIP, WENDY. ♪♪ >>THIS IS A UNIQUE SPORT WHERE THE APPARATUS IS ACTUALLY USED TO CREATE ART. WHETHER IT’S THROUGH LINES, COLORS OR JUST THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE. WENDY IS FANTASTIC AT REACHING OUT TO THE AUDIENCE AND INVOLVING THEM IN WHAT SHE’S DOING. >>THERE SHE IS IN ALL OF HER GLORY. CAN YOU STILL DO THAT? >>A LOT OF IT I CAN STILL DO, BUT I’M NOT TRAINING SIX HOURS A DAY ANYMORE SO IT’S NOT THAT EASY. >>THAT’S WHAT IT IS SIX HOURS A DAY, FIVE DAYS A WEEK — >>NOT SEVEN DAYS A WEEK BUT FIVE OR SIX AND MAYBE DO A HALF-DAY ON A SATURDAY. BUT IT’S VERY INTENSE TRAINING. >>SO NOW YOU’VE COACHED. YOU WERE THE FIRST BLACK HEAD OF THE WOMENS SPORTS FOUNDATION. AND YOU’VE CREATED THE WENDY HILLIARD FOUNDATION. AND YOU NOW HAVE GIVEN THIS — THIS KIND OF OPPORTUNITY TO SOME 15,000 KIDS. TELL US ABOUT THAT PROGRESSION. >>IT’S VERY INTERESTING. I MENTION I’M FROM DETROIT, I GREW UP IN A COMMUNITY GYMNASTICS PROGRAM. WHEN I MOVED TO NEW YORK AND DOING THESE EXCITING WONDERFUL THINGS, AFTER I COACHED MY GYMNASTS TO THE OLYMPICS, I SAID I CAN INFLUENCE MAYBE 10 OR 15 KIDS AND I LOOK UP TEN YEARS LATER AND WEREN’T ANY BLACKS ON THE NATIONAL TEAM SO I STARTED MY FOUNDATION AND THROUGH A LOT OF HARD WORK AND REALLY TRUSTED IN GOD TO KEEP US GOING BECAUSE WE’VE BEEN GOING FOR 20 YEARS, WE’VE BEEN ABLE TO PROVIDE FREE AND LOW COST GYMNASTICS TO OVER 15,000 KIDS. AND IT’S A WIDE RANGE. IT’S BEGINNERS. WE HAVE KIDS PUT ON THE NATIONAL TEAM. WE REALLY LOOK AT IT AS THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROVIDE A SPORT FOR KIDS THAT THEY WOULDN’T NORMALLY GET IN NEW YORK CITY OR BE ABLE TO AFFORD MOST IMPORTANTLY. >>SURE. >>BUT ALSO THE KEYS THAT WE ALWAYS DO GREAT GYMNASTICS. MY COACHES TAUGHT ME WELL. SO TO MY STAFF WHO I HAVE TO THANK BECAUSE THEY’RE WITH THE KIDS DAY IN AND DAY OUT, WE REALLY PROVIDE HIGH LEVEL TRAINING QUALITY SAFE GYMNASTICS AND ALSO SUPPORT WITH NUTRITION AND EDUCATIONAL TRAINING. >>WHICH IS TERRIFIC YOU’RE GIVING THEM A BROAD BASE. NOW, WE’VE GOT TWO YOUNG WOMEN NOW WHO ARE TAKING THE GYMNASTICS WORLD BY STORM. SIMONE BILES AND GABBY DOUGLAS. IN YOUR COACH POSITION, TELL US WHAT YOU SEE. THEY’RE BOTH GOING TO THE OLYMPICS WE BELIEVE. >>WELL, THEY’LL HAVE THE TRIALS IN JULY. >>RIGHT. TRIALS IN JULY, BUT RIO IS ON THE HORIZON. LET’S TAKE A LOOK FIRST AT SIMONE BILES BECAUSE SHE IS THE TWO-TIME — OR IS IT THREE-TIME? >>THREE TIME, YES. >>I CAN’T KEEP UP WITH HER SHE’S AMAZING. LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT A CLIP OF HER DOING HER THING. ♪♪ [ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] >>SO INCREDIBLE. AND SHE STARTED WHEN SHE WAS SIX, I BELIEVE, SHE’S FROM TEXAS? >>USUALLY SHE TRAINS IN TEXAS NOW. SHE’S JUST A PHENOMENAL GYMNAST. BESIDES HER QUALITY SHE PERFORMS WITH SUCH JOY AND CONFIDENCE. >>SO THAT’S REALLY THAT CONFIDENCE LEVEL PROBABLY — WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT COMES FROM? DO YOU THINK THAT’S INNATE? >>GYMNASTICS ESPECIALLY AT THE HIGH LEVEL IS MENTAL. EVERYBODY’S TRAINED THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME, BUT YOU HAVE TO PERFORM IN THAT MOMENT. THERE ARE NO DO-OVERS. SO THE MENTAL TRAINING IS VERY IMPORTANT. SO HER CONFIDENCE COMES FROM BEING VERY CONSISTENT. NOW SHE HAS ALL THESE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS BEHIND HER BELT. SHE KNOWS IF SHE DOES HER ROUTINE TO THE BEST OF HER ABILITY SHE’LL BE AT THE TOP. >>WOW. NOW OF COURSE THE FAMOUS GABBY DOUGLAS WHO BECAME SUCH A TREMENDOUS ROLE MODEL BECAUSE SHE WAS AFTER YOU, SO TO SPEAK, GABBY WAS THE NEXT REAL BIG STAR. >>I WOULD SAY YOU GOT TO PUT DOMINIQUE DAWES UP IN THERE. GOLD MEDALIST. >>OH, YES. BUT NOW GABBY’S COME BACK AND THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN AT VERY OFTEN ALL. >>THAT’S VERY TRUE. >>SHE’S TRYING AGAIN, HERE’S 2012 WHEN SHE WAS PART OF THAT ROUTINE. LET’S LOOK AT HER NEW ROUTINE AS SHE IS COMING BACK. ♪♪ >>THE THING THAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT HER AND WHY SHE WON THE OLYMPICS IN 2012 IS BECAUSE SHE CAN FOCUS LIKE NO OTHER PERSON. SIMONE, BUBBLY, GABBY’S LIKE I GOT A JOB TO DO AND IT’S TO STAY ON THIS BEAM. IT’S REALLY QUITE AMAZING HER LEVEL OF SPORTS COMEBACK IS QUITE THE STORY. >>YEAH. IT’S SO INTERESTING TO WATCH. THE OTHER THING ABOUT GABBY, AND SHE WROTE A BOOK AND TALKED ABOUT IT A LOT, SHE FACED A LOT OF CRITICISM. THIS WHOLE BODY IMAGE THING SHE DIDN’T QUITE FIT THE GYMNASTIC MODEL OF WHAT WE WOULD EXPECT, YOU KNOW, PROBABLY, BLONDE, SKINNY, WHATEVER THAT IS. TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THAT AS A BLACK CHILD. THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT CHILDREN HERE WHO ARE COMPETING. >>WELL, I KNOW THE STORY ALL TOO WELL. THE THING ABOUT GYMNASTICS IS IT’S A PERFORMANCE SPORT. IN RHYTHMIC GYMNASTICS. WE HAVE A GROUP ROUTINE WHICH IS A SYNCHRONIZED ROUTINE. EVERYBODY MOVES ALIKE AND DO THE ROUTINE TOGETHER. I WENT TO THE OLYMPIC TRAINING CENTER, TRAINED, BEEN ON THE NATIONAL TEAM ALREADY, AND THEY DIDN’T PICK ME FOR THE TEAM THAT YEAR. I MEAN, AND I WAS ONE OF THE TOP IN THE COUNTRY. AND ALL OF MY GYMNASTS, EVERYONE’S LIKE WHY IS WENDY OFF THE TEAM. AND SO I WENT UP TO THE COACH WHO COACHED THERE, SHE GOES, WENDY, WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH YOU, YOU STAND OUT TOO MUCH. I WAS LIKE WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO. OF COURSE I DO. >>RIGHT. >>BUT THIS IS WHERE MY DETROIT TRAINING CAME IN. I WAS DEVASTATED, BUT I CALLED MY MOM AND DAD ON THE PHONE. THEY’RE LIKE, OH, BABY, LET’S WRITE TO USA GYMNASTICS, SEND THEM A TELEFAX — BUT MY PARENTS, I WAS AMAZED. THIS IS EARLY ’80s, YOU’RE TELLING ME I CAN’T DO THIS BECAUSE I’M BLACK? DO YOU KNOW WHAT MY PARENTS WENT THROUGH TO GET AN EDUCATION, AND USA GYMNASTICS CHANGED IT AND THAT’S ONE OF THE REASONS THEY BECAME SUCH AN ADVOCATE BECAUSE YOU’RE GOING TO TELL ME I HAVE ALL OF THE TALENT IN THE WORLD BUT BECAUSE OF MY SKIN COLOR I CAN’T DO THIS? IT REALLY WAS LIFE CHANGING. YOU HAD TO FIGHT. SO WHAT GABBY WENT THROUGH, SIMONE WENT THROUGH THE SAME THING. SHE’S WINNING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS AND INTERNATIONAL SAYING IF I WAS DARKER TOO I’D WIN. NO, IF YOU’D DO GYMNASTICS LIKE SIMONE YOU’D WIN. IT’S A HARD BARRIER STILL. >>LET’S TALK ABOUT SERENA WILLIAMS FOR EXAMPLE WHO ALSO AS AN ADULT EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMER AND ATHLETE. AND WHO ALSO FACED, YOU KNOW, HATE MAIL, TRUE CRITICISM IN THE, QUOTE, ESTABLISHED MEDIA AS WELL AS JUST ORDINARY PEOPLE WHO SAID SHE DIDN’T FIT THE PART. LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT SERENA AND HER BODY. WHAT’S YOUR REACTION. >>FABULOUS. I’M LIKE THAT IS WHAT IT TAKES TO BE THE CHAMPION SHE IS. LET’S BE CLEAR. SHE HAS ALWAYS THIS TRAINING, SHE, YOU KNOW, GREW UP WITH HER SISTER WHO WAS A GREAT ATHLETE AND TRAINED BY HER FATHER, BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT, HITTING THE TENNIS BALL THAT HARD AND THAT PRECISE, THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES. AND IT SHOULD BE CELEBRATED. THIS IS HER JOB. SHE’S NOT TRYING TO BE ANYTHING ELSE. THIS IS WHAT TENNIS DOES. THE REASON SHE HAS THIS GREAT FACILITY IN MIND MAKES HER THE CHAMPION SHE IS. >>WHAT OTHER ASPECTS TALKING ABOUT THE WILLIAMS SISTERS IS THIS EQUAL PAY ASPECT. WOMEN GET PAID WHAT THE MEN GET PAID DOING EXACTLY THE SAME THING. AND VENUS WILLIAMS FOUGHT FOR THAT AT WIMBLEDON. LET’S LISTEN TO HER AND TALKING ABOUT EQUAL PAY AND WHY EVERYBODY SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT IT. >>THERE’S ALWAYS GOING TO BE PEOPLE WHO DON’T THINK THAT ANOTHER PERSON SHOULD BE PAID EQUALLY. IT’S IMPORTANT FOR MEN TO GET ONBOARD. IT’S IMPORTANT FOR MEN TO GET ONBOARD BECAUSE THESE SAME MEN HAVE DAUGHTERS, THEY HAVE WIVES, THEY HAVE SISTERS. AND THEY SHOULD WANT THOSE SAME OPPORTUNITIES FOR THOSE PEOPLE AND THEIR FAMILY. THEY HAVE WOMEN IN THEIR LIVES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO THEM. AND THEY NEED TO REALIZE THAT WHEN THEY SAY THESE SORTS OF THINGS, THAT THEY’RE ALSO SAYING THESE THINGS ABOUT THE WOMEN IN THEIR LIVES. AND THEY HAVE TO REALLY COME TO GRIPS WITH WHAT THAT MEANS. >>EXACTLY. AND YET EVEN THOUGH TITLE 9 HAS BEEN ENFORCED SINCE 1972, THE COLLEGE SPORTS, ALL OF THAT THERE’S STILL A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN THE WOMEN AND THE MEN, BETTER. BUT HOW DO YOU ASSESS IT HAVING WATCHED IT SO CLOSELY SINCE 1972? >>WELL, IT’S DEFINITELY MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE. AND IT’S NOT THERE YET. SO I WAS PRESIDENT OF WOMEN SPORTS FOUNDATION ’95 AND ’96. THE BASKETBALL TEAM WON, SOFTBALL, SOCCER, MADE A PROFOUND DIFFERENCE ESPECIALLY IN COLLEGE AND COLLEGIATE SPORTS AND OPPORTUNITIES. BUT LIKE VENUS WAS SAYING, THERE’S A REASON THAT IF YOU PUT OUT THE EFFORT AND YOU’RE DOING THE SAME THING, YOU SHOULD BE PAID THE SAME AMOUNT. IT’S NOT VERY DIFFICULT. IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE. YOU JUST HAVE TO HAVE THE QUALITY. AND SO TITLE 9 IS HARD FOUGHT. THERE’S STILL A LONG WAY TO GO. IT’S NOT JUST SPORTS. IT’S EVERYTHING. NO ONE WOULD ASSUME IN YOUR MATH CLASS YOU DON’T WANT THE GIRLS TO GET THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES AS BOYS, WELL, IT GOES OVER TO SPORTS. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT AND STILL HAS A WAYS TO GO BUT MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE. >>YEAH. MARY CAMPBELL SCHMIDT OR SCHMIDT CAMPBELL I ALWAYS CONFUSE HER, BUT NOW THE PRESIDENT OF SPELLMAN COLLEGE AND SHE’S USING TITLE 9. THERE WAS AN ALLEGED RAPE INCIDENT ON THE CAMPUS AND SHE TALKS ABOUT TITLE 9 AS THE IMPROVING THAT TO GET TO THE HEART OF WHAT HAPPENED IN THAT CASE AND PROVIDING SAFETY FOR GIRLS ON CAMPUS. DO YOU PERCEIVE IT AS THAT WIDE A ROLE AS WELL? >>IT IS A WIDE ROLE. IT CAUGHT ON WITH SPORTS, BUT IT’S REALLY EQUAL OPPORTUNITY TO THOSE INSTITUTIONS RECEIVING FEDERAL FUNDING, AND THAT’S ANYTHING TO DO WITH EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES. AND THAT’S WHY ESPECIALLY TALKING ABOUT A UNIVERSITY, THE SAFETY OPPORTUNITY TO ACADEMICS, TO ATHLETICS, JUST LOOKS VERY BAD ON THE ATHLETICS SIDE BECAUSE THE MEN ON ALL THESE SCHOLARSHIPS AND THE WOMEN DID NOT. BUT, SURE, IT SHOULD BE APPLIED ACROSS THE BOARD. EQUALITY IS EQUALITY. AND YOU HAVE TO HAVE IT GO ACROSS THE BOARD. >>SO FORBES MAGAZINE DID ITS LIST OF THE TOP 25 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN SPORTS. AND OF COURSE WE THINK YOU SHOULD BE ON THAT, BUT I WAS IMPRESSED THAT THERE ARE FIVE BLACK WOMEN WHO ARE ON THIS LIST. AND I WANT TO GET YOUR REACTION ABOUT EACH OF THEM. MICHELLE ROBERTS, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION. SO SHE’S A LAWYER AND A TOUGH NEGOTIATOR TOO. TELL US WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT HER. >>WELL, IT’S SUCH AN INCREDIBLE ROLE. I MEAN, TO BE REALLY HAVE THE PLAYERS ASSOCIATION I DON’T THINK PEOPLE UNDERSTAND HOW STRONG THAT IS AND HOW MUCH POWER THAT THEY REALLY RULE. AND HER POSITION LIKE YOU SAID TOUGH NEGOTIATOR. THAT IS A SUPER TOUGH JOB. I JUST COMMEND THAT SHE’S AT THE TOP LEVEL AND IT’S GREAT TO HAVE HER THERE. >>SO VENUS AND SERENA WILLIAMS NUMBER FOUR, MICHELLE ROBERTS IS NUMBER TWO, VENUS AND SERENA WILLIAMS NUMBER FOUR. THEY HAVE 117 GRAND SLAMS BETWEEN THEM, $150 MILLION COMBINED EARNINGS. PRETTY GOOD FOR A COUPLE OF KIDS FROM COMPSON, CALIFORNIA. >>IT’S AN AMAZING STORY. AND AS WE’VE BEEN DISCUSSING IT’S NOT JUST THEIR GREAT TENNIS ABILITIES AND THEIR CHAMPIONSHIPS AND THE LENGTH SERENA HAS BEEN DOING THIS, SHE’S BEEN A CHAMPION FOR SO LONG ALONG WITH VENUS, BUT THE FACT THEY SPEAK UP. IT IS NOT EASY WHEN YOU’RE AN ATHLETE TO SPEAK UP ON THESE ISSUES. SERENA HAS HAD TO DO IT AND VENUS HAS BEEN SO ELOQUENT ALONG WITH THEIR TENNIS I ADMIRE THEIR ADVOCACY. >>SO NUMBER 13 ON THIS LIST WAS A SURPRISE TO ME, IT’S CONDOLEEZZA RICE, YOU KNOW, NOW THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF SHE’S ON THAT COMMITTEE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FOOTBALL FAN AND SOME HAD SAID SHE SHOULD BE, YOU KNOW, THE HEAD OF WHATEVER YOU CALL THAT. YOU CAN TELL I’M NOT — ANYWAY, CONDOLEEZZA RICE. >>I AM NOT SURPRISED. I HAVE HEARD HER SPEAK MANY TIMES. AND SHE DID GYMNASTICS IN COLLEGE, WHICH I FOUND OUT RECENTLY. SHE OF COURSE IS SO SKILLED WORLDWIDE, BUT SHE UNDERSTANDS TITLE 9. SHE’S BEEN A BIG ADVOCATE. SO SHE ALWAYS BRINGS THAT INTO CONVERSATION. AND SHE HAS AND ACTUALLY WAS A FIGURE SKATER BEFORE A GYMNAST AND NOW SHE’S REALLY INTO FOOTBALL. SO SHE HAS THIS GREAT SPORTS BACKGROUND. SO I’M NOT SURPRISED TO SEE HER. >>OKAY. NUMBER 14 RIGHT BEHIND CONDOLEEZZA IS SHEILA JOHNSON OF COURSE OF THE B.E.T. SHEILA WAS ONE OF OUR FIRST BLACK BILLIONAIRES. SHE’S CO-OWNER OF THE WASHINGTON MYSTICS, WIZARDS AND CAPITALS. >>WOW. >>INCREDIBLE. >>VERY INCREDIBLE. JUST TO BE AN OWNER OF A TEAM IS SO AMAZING. BUT SHE’S REALLY JUST TAKEN IT FROM, YOU KNOW, THE MEDIA END TO SPORTS ON SUCH A HIGH LEVEL SHE’S A ROLE MODEL BECAUSE YOU WANT TO BE PART OF SPORTS BUT ONLY IN SPORTS IS REALLY WHERE YOU WANT TO BE AS WELL. >>OWNING IT, RIGHT. LAST IS KATRINA ADAMS, CEO OF THE U.S. TENNIS ASSOCIATION. >>WOO HOO. >>YOU KNOW HER. >>I DO. I DO. KATRINA SUPER ROCK STAR. WE ARE SO PROUD. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME THEY’VE HAD A FORMER ATHLETE BE HEAD. AND SHE’S DOING AMAZING THINGS. FOR ONE, ALL OF THE ATHLETES LOVE IT THAT SHE’S THERE. FOR TWO, WE ARE IN THE SAME WHERE I DO GYMNASTICS AT THE HARLEM CHILDREN ZONE HER OFFICE IS THERE WITH THE HARLEM JUNIOR TENNIS AND EDUCATION PROGRAM. AND IT’S VERY FUNNY BECAUSE SHE’S SO BUSY. SHE’S ALWAYS AROUND THE WORLD. SHE SENT ME A REALLY GREAT TEXT WHERE PICTURE WITH NADIA, AT THE FRENCH OPEN, SHE’S LIKE NADIA SAYS HI. I WAS LIKE GO KATRINA. IT’S NICE, BUT WE’RE REALLY PROUD OF HER AND SHE’S DOING EXCEPTIONAL JOB. >>THAT’S GREAT. YOU SAY OWNERSHIP IS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE. WHAT ABOUT THE OWNERSHIP OF WOMENS TEAMS? FOR INSTANCE IN BASKETBALL THAT ARE HAVING A REALLY, REALLY TOUGH TIME. AND YOU’VE GOT HEADLINES LIKE WHY DO FANS IGNORE WOMENS SPORTS WHEN IT GETS TO THE PROFESSIONAL LEVEL? WHAT’S IN OPERATION THERE DO YOU THINK? THE ATTENDANCE IS DOWN. I KNOW PERSONALLY THAT SOME OWNERS ARE TRYING TO SELL THEIR TEAMS AND CAN’T FIND BUYERS FOR THEM. >>YOU HAVE TO GO HISTORY. THE NBA’S BEEN AROUND FOUR TIMES, FIVE TIMES LONGER THAN THE WNBA. THINGS TAKE TIME TO CATCH ON. AND THEN IT’S A COMBINATION OF GIVING THINGS A CHANCE. I MEAN, THE NBA WASN’T THAT POPULAR IN THE 1940s AND ’50s. PEOPLE WEREN’T RUNNING TO DO IT. MEDIA HAS A LOT TO DO WITH IT. I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, AMERICANS HAVE — ESPECIALLY AMERICANS BECAUSE WOMENS BASKETBALL’S EXTREMELY POPULAR IN ASIA AND EUROPE. BUT I THINK IT NEEDS TO GIVE TIME BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO HAVE A GENERATION OF PEOPLE THAT ARE USED TO IT. I’M GIVING IT 10 OR 20 YEARS IS REALLY NOT ENOUGH TIME TO SOLIDIFY. NFL’S BEEN ALONG FOR A LONG TIME. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THEY’RE ENTERTAINMENT, LET’S BE CLEAR. IT IS SPORTS, BUT IT’S ALSO ENTERTAINMENT. SO YOU HAVE TO FIND YOUR AUDIENCE AND SUSTAIN YOUR AUDIENCE. AND THERE’S SOME FABULOUS WOMEN BASKETBALL PLAYERS OUT THERE. AND SO I THINK THEY HAVE TO GIVE IT TIME. AND IT’S DEFINITELY A BUSINESS. BUT IT’S GOING TO COME AROUND AND DESERVES ITS SUPPORT. >>NOW, YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING. YOU’VE COACHED. YOU’VE JUDGED, ALTHOUGH NOT YOUR FAVORITE THING. >>NOT AT ALL. >>BUT YOU’VE ALSO BEEN A BROADCASTER. AND I WAS READING SOME ARTICLES ABOUT THE HATE MAIL, OR THE HATE IN SOCIAL MEDIA AGAINST WOMEN SPORTS CASTERS OR WOMEN COMMENTING ON SPORTS AT ALL. CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THAT? WHAT IS IT THAT FANS, AGAIN, WE’RE ASSUMING MOSTLY MALES, BUT WHO KNOWS, HATE WOMEN WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT SPORTS. >>BECAUSE THEY WANT TO DO IT. YOU KNOW. IT’S NOT REALLY — >>SHORT ANSWER. >>THAT IS TRUE. THEY’RE NOT THERE DOING IT. AND IT’S JUST HOW SOCIETY IS OVERALL WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE SOMEONE THAT’S BEEN AROUND IT OR YOU’RE USED TO SEEING. THE WOMEN BROADCASTERS OUT THERE ARE WORKING REALLY HARD. THEY’RE DOING THEIR JOB. THEY WOULDN’T BE IN THIS POSITION IF THEY WEREN’T VERY GOOD. THE THING ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA IS EVERYBODY’S A CRITIC AND PEOPLE ANONYMOUSLY CAN, YOU KNOW, STATE WHAT THEY’RE FEELING SO THAT MAKES IT — IT BLOWS IT UP A LOT MORE. BUT IT’S LIKE ANYTHING ELSE LIKE BLACKS IN AMERICA, WHEN YOU HAVE THE FIRST BLACK OUT THERE DOING IT, WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS? HAVING THE FIRST WOMAN DO SOMETHING. IT’S JUST THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT USED TO IT AND YOU’VE GOT TO GET ON BOARD BECAUSE WE ARE HERE AND IT’S GOING TO HAPPEN SO GET USED TO IT. >>DO YOU FIND THIS LATEST CROP OF BROADCASTERS ARE THEY ACTUALLY IN THERE AND SUCCEEDING THE WAY THE OTHERS YOU HAVE FAVORED WHO DO IT REALLY WELL? >>YOU KNOW, TO BE TRUE, SPORTS IS STILL CONTROLLED A LOT BY MALES. AND SO ANY OF THE WOMEN UP THERE HAVE HAD TO FIGHT LIKE GANG BUSTERS TO GET THERE. I MEAN, HISTORICALLY THOSE PEOPLE THAT REALLY STARTED SPORTS 20, 30 YEARS AGO THAT REALLY SET THE WAY, THERE’S SO MANY MORE OUTLETS NOW. REMEMBER, YOU USED TO HAVE THREE NETWORKS AND NOW YOU’VE GOT CABLE. SO THERE ARE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN TO DO SPORTS. AND, YOU KNOW, I JUST SAY GO AT IT. PRESIDENT OF THE WOMENS SPORTS FOUNDATION AND COMMENTATING FOR BASEBALL, ROCK STAR. PEOPLE LOVED IT BECAUSE SHE WAS A GREAT OLYMPIC CHAMPIONSHIP, MARRIED TO A BASEBALL PLAYER. THAT’S NOT IT. HER COMMENTARY IS BEING RESPECTED BY PEOPLE. SO THOSE CAME BEFORE HER SET THE STAGE FOR OTHERS TO COME FORWARD AND IT’S GOING TO KEEP GETTING BIGGER. >>SO WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE YOUNG WOMEN WHO WANT TO BE ATHLETES BECAUSE THERE’S STILL A BIT OF SEXISM INVOLVED IN THAT IN SCHOOL AND ELSEWHERE AND PEER PRESSURE AND WHATEVER, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO YOUNG GIRLS WHO REALLY WANT TO BE TRUE ATHLETES AND WANT TO PURSUE THAT AS A CAREER? >>YOU HAVE TO. YOU REALLY DO HAVE TO. I THINK IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TALKING ABOUT THE HEALTH OF AMERICA AND ESPECIALLY THE HEALTH OF BLACK AMERICA, THE SPORTS IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD DO BECAUSE IT’S A BACKGROUND. IT’S PART OF EDUCATION. YOU HAVE TO KNOW YOUR BODY. THE OTHER THING THAT SPORTS DOES FOR EVERYONE IS IT DEVELOPS LEADERSHIP SKILLS, IT DEVELOPS CONFIDENCE. I MEAN, TO GO OUT THERE AND TO DO WHAT YOU DO IN SPORT, YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW. THERE’S NO REASON NOT TO. IT’S NOT SOMETHING YOU’RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO DO ALL YOUR LIFE. DEFINITELY A YOUNG PERSON’S ACTIVITY. BUT — AND THIS IS WHY I DO THE THINGS I DO FOR MY FOUNDATION. I AM DEFINITELY CREATING ATHLETES, BUT ESPECIALLY FOR MY FEMALE ATHLETES I’M CREATING SOME WARRIORS UP IN HERE BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO KNOW HOW TO NEGOTIATE. >>RIGHT. >>YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO STAND UP FOR YOURSELF. AND YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT PLAY — YOU KNOW, SPORTS IS AN AREA WHERE YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO LOSE. THERE’S A BIG DIFFERENCE WHEN I HIRE PEOPLE IF THEY’VE BEEN ATHLETES OR NOT. I CAN TELL. AND I CAN ARGUE WITH THEM NO PROBLEM BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT EMOTIONAL ABOUT IT, LET’S PUT IT THAT WAY. BUT I WOULD SAY SPORTS IS SOMETHING THAT ALL YOUTH SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN JUST LIKE YOU GOT TO GO TO SCHOOL, YOU GOT TO LEARN SPORTS. >>YOU GOT TO DO THE SPORTS. TALK ABOUT CAREERS, I LOVED READING ABOUT YOU DESIGNING THESE SPORTS FACILITIES. SO YOU’RE AN ARCHITECT AS WELL. YOU’RE AN ATHLETE WHO KNOWS WHAT NEEDS TO BE THERE. YOU’VE GOT THIS 15,000 SQUARE FOOT PLACE THAT YOU DESIGNED. TALK TO US A LITTLE ABOUT THAT.>>WELL, IT’S SO EXCITING. AVIATOR SPORTS RECREATION RIGHT AFTER THE OLYMPIC. SO I WAS HEAD OF SPORTS SO I WORKED WITH A LOT OF ARCHITECTS AND PLANNERS SO GOOD SIX YEARS OF TRAINING GOING FORWARD, BUT THE OPPORTUNITY WAS AT FLOYD BENNETT FIELD THE DECOMMISSIONED AIRPLANE HANGARS WERE TURNED INTO SPORTS FACILITIES. AND IT WAS SUCH AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ME TO TAKE A GYMNASTICS CENTER THAT WAS RAW AND MAKE IT THE BEST THAT I COULD. AND I HAD TO DESIGN THE ROCK CLIMBING WALL. BUT IT’S JUST A BEAUTIFUL FACILITY THAT’S STILL GOING WELL. AND IT’S VERY LIGHT. AND SO, YOU KNOW, THEY DON’T COME ALONG ESPECIALLY NEW YORK BECAUSE SPACE IS SO TOUGH. THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT TO SCHEDULE IT TO GET IT GOING IS EXCITING AND STILL GOING STRONG, BUT I HAD TO COME BACK TO HARLEM, COME BACK TO MY PEOPLE TO DO MY GYMNASTICS HERE. >>TO DO YOUR GYMNASTICS. I ALWAYS ASK EVERY GUEST AS WE’RE CLOSING WHO TALK WITH YOU FOREVER BECAUSE YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING AND IT’S SO INTERESTING THAT THIS IS THE PERFECTED ATHLETE’S LIFE WHO KNOWS HOW TO DO EVERYTHING. SO THANK YOU FOR DOING THAT. I ASK YOU TO FINISH THE SENTENCE, THE POWER, THE STRENGTH OF BLACK AMERICA LIES IN — WHERE DO YOU THINK THAT IS? >>IT LIES IN OPPORTUNITY. IT DOES LIE IN OPPORTUNITY. I HAVE FELT THROUGH MY CAREER THAT BECAUSE I HAD THIS OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME A GREAT GYMNAST IT LED ONTO SO MANY OTHER THINGS. THE REASON WHY PROVIDED THROUGH MY FOUNDATION IS BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THERE’S A VARIETY OF SPORTS AND OLYMPICS ARE COMING UP SOON. ALL OF MY KIDS ARE GOING TO BE SHOWING THEIR STUFF JUNE 4th. THE BEGINNERS THROUGH MY HIGH LEVEL KIDS ALL SHOW THEIR THINGS, BUT IT’S THE OPPORTUNITY ALSO PARENTS WANT FOR THEIR CHILDREN. IF THEIR CHILDREN WANT TO DO GYMNASTICS, I CAN PROVIDE THAT FOR THEM. WHAT HAPPENS IS YOU GET THIS DIVERSITY OF TALENT IN DIFFERENT SPORTS AND IF PEOPLE JUST HAVE THE CHANCE TO SHINE, THAT’S WHAT OPPORTUNITY DOES. AND YOU CAN BECOME YOUR BEST SELF. >>THAT’S TERRIFIC. WENDY HILLIARD, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR BEING WITH US HERE TODAY. AND FOR EVERYTHING YOU’VE DONE IN SPORTS AND FOR THE KIDS AND COMPETITORS, WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT. >>OH. >>GOOD TO SEE YOU. >>THANK YOU, MY PLEASURE. >>DESIGN ANOTHER CLIMBING WALL FOR US. >>OKAY. >>AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY. I’M CAROL JENKINS. THE PROGRAM IS “BLACK AMERICA.” AND WE’LL SEE YOU THE NEXT TIME. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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