Jemele Hill and Michael Smith made history at ESPN by being the first all-Black anchor team on “SportsCenter” in February 2017. They both have left ESPN and now Hill has sat down for her first interview since the departure—and she drops some truths about how they were treated at the network.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 42-year-old says they were labeled political simply because they were Black and way before she made any comments about Trump. Hill explained, “Mike (Smith) and I specifically were called political, way before any of the Trump stuff ever happened and I always thought that was a very interesting label, because frankly, I think that most of the time it was said because we were the two Black people.”
She continued, “It wasn’t our fault that Chance the Rapper decided to wear a Colin Kaepernick T-shirt and say that he wasn’t supporting the NFL. We didn’t have him on the show for that. We had him on the show to talk about him being in Vegas for Mayweather-McGregor. But because you have the two Black people that are outspoken, with another outspoken Black artist, suddenly the show is too political.”
Thankfully, ESPN is in her rear view mirror because big things have already come her way. She will narrate the LeBron James basketball documentary Shut Up and Dribble, which airs in November on Showtime. She is now a staff writer for The Atlantic and is developing a TV series with Gabrielle Union, which is loosely based on her relationship with her best friend of 20 years. Hill explained to The Hollywood Reporter, “The best way I can describe it, it’s as if Molly and Issa from ‘Insecure’ had grown up. Imagine those two characters as fully-grown, accomplished women of color.”
Huge congrats to Jemele Hill!