ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — According to new research from Dove Men+Care, when shown an image of a Black man, white men are most likely to describe him as an athlete over any other profession. That is why this March Madness, as a continuation of the Commit to C.A.R.E. Now initiative, Dove Men+Care is spotlighting the multidimensional stories of former NCAA student-athletes with Off Court Champs.
By championing and showcasing multidimensional stories of Black men, Dove Men+Care is challenging limiting stereotypes and narrow portrayals to change the way Black men are seen and treated in society. This work builds on the Commit To C.A.R.E. Now initiative that Dove Men+Care launched in September 2020 to address the misrepresentation of Black men and the harm it causes.
“Mainstream media and culture have longstanding histories of perpetuating stereotypes by showcasing extremely limited and inaccurate depictions of Black men,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, chief operating officer, Unilever N.A. Beauty and Personal Care. “These stereotypes have a tremendously negative impact and affect not only how the world views Black men, but also how Black men view themselves. We are using our platform during March Madness® to showcase and celebrate these Off Court Champs – their stories, their humanity, and their impact off the court – to change the way the world sees and treats Black men.”
Dove Men+Care has partnered with seven Off Court Champs, who are former NCAA® student-athletes turned CEOs, lawyers, artists, and more. These Off Court Champs include:
- Justin Drummond is a former Division I student-athlete who advanced to the NCAA Championships® during his education at Loyola University Maryland. While earning numerous awards and honors in basketball, he founded SparkC in 2013. Though only 20 years old at its inception, Drummond grew the company into a thriving, successful brand. In 2016, he founded a suit company with the goal of providing professional attire to those who could not afford it.
- Terrance Hayes is a 2014 MacArthur Fellow at Coker College where he studied painting and English and was an Academic All-American on the men’s basketball team. After receiving a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997, he traveled the world to teach, eventually setting roots at New York University as a Professor of English.
- Michael C. Thorpe is a rising star in the world of quilting as an artist who makes large-scale portraits using quilting techniques inspired by the rich historic artistry of the African American quilters of Gee Bend Alabama. His quilts have garnered major attention, being acquired by museums and by galleries such as The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
- Onaje X.O. Woodbine is a former star student-athlete, voted as one of the top 10 best student-athletes in The Ivy League® during his time at Yale. With his academic passion off the court, Onaje decided to pursue philosophy and religious studies, leading to the attainment of his Ph.D. from Boston University, his teaching career at American University, and the development of his book, “Black Gods of the Asphalt: Religion, Hip-Hop, and Street Basketball.”
- Adonal Foyle is a former NCAA® student-athlete from Colgate University and NBA star whose many passions stem far beyond the game, focusing on giving back to the next generation by providing education and advice beyond sports. Adonal founded Democracy Matters – an organization centered on empowering kids from all over the country to have their voices heard – as well as the Kerosene Lamp Foundation and is an author of several published books.
- Desmond Mason is a former Slam Dunk Champion who was a 1st round draft pick out of Oklahoma State University by the Seattle SuperSonics. After retiring in 2010, Desmond pursued his childhood dream of being a full-time artist. He has created work for numerous high-profile celebrities, athletes, art collectors, business professionals, and entertainers globally. Desmond won the U.N. Athlete for Peace award in 2016 in recognition of his artistic talent and philanthropic work.
- Terry Dehere played for Seton Hall University and spent six seasons in the NBA. Following his career, Terry returned to his neighborhood in South Orange, New Jersey to help rebuild and support the community. Terry’s work has centered on renovating local playgrounds, restoring abandoned buildings to provide low-cost housing for seniors and low-income families, and developing sites for similar purposes. In addition to this work, Terry formed the Jersey City Community Housing Corporation, involved in the construction of affordable housing.
“Basketball taught me to dream past my circumstances at a young age, and the arts materialized those dreams for me,” said Michael C. Thorpe. “Basketball, and sports in general, provide so much opportunity for young men. However, as Black men, we are so often limited in the way the world sees us. If a young man wants to be an athlete, that is incredible, but he can also be a great doctor, lawyer, teacher, artist, and so much more. I hope that when young men hear my story, they understand that life and opportunity aren’t limited to on the court.”
To connect with the next generation, Dove Men+Care is partnering with the NCAA® to launch Off Court Clinics, a series of virtual workshops in which the Off Court Champs will draw from their personal experiences to provide today’s NCAA® student-athletes with guidance on how to achieve their career aspirations.
Dove Men+Care invites you to join us in disrupting and dissolving these harmful stereotypes by going to CommitToCARENow.com to sign our pledge and learn more about the Off Court Champs.
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