Sportsnet Executive Producer and Host of SNBets
Cabbie Richards, Sportsnet Executive Producer and Host of SNBets, sat down with Mediaplanet to discuss the importance of Black History Month.
Growing up in Toronto, have you noticed any differences in how Canadians celebrate Black History Month today?
Overwhelmingly, yes. Until the mid 2010s, large corporations, media companies, and sports leagues didn’t publicly acknowledge or celebrate Black History Month. I’m 45 years old, so for most of my life, Black History Month was celebrated primarily within the community and not in broader society. Black culture has been commoditized for decades in the mainstream: television, music, movies, entertainment, culture at large, and so on. And to get broader recognition that highlights the contributions of not only our icons and civil rights leaders but also artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, and people with much lesser profiles feels like we’re finally being seen.
How do you think Black history should be incorporated into the education and promotion of sports in schools?
Unfortunately, I haven’t been in an elementary school or high school classroom in a meaningful way in almost 30 years so I can’t answer this question. There might be curricula or capsules dedicated to Black History Month taught by educators that meet or surpass my expectations. If there’s substantial acknowledgment, consuming literature, content, and learning of the contributions of Black Canadians or Black Americans, that meets my expectations.
How important is it for influential members of the media like yourself to use their platforms to address social justice issues and to promote diversity and inclusion?
As a public figure, I understand that I represent more than myself or my immediate family. A common sentiment in my community is that as Black people, we’re judged by our worst and not by our best. As a group, we’re stigmatized by someone else’s wrongdoing or criminal acts. So, yes, it’s worthwhile to use one’s platform to speak truth to power and to address social issues and to promote diversity and inclusion. My platform isn’t huge and I don’t often use it to speak out about societal ills or injustices. Every person has a choice as to when to let their voice be heard or what kind of action they want to take or how to make a difference in their community.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month means to remember, recognize, and celebrate achievements by individuals in the Black community and contributions to the culture at large — in the arts, sciences, medicine, finance, literature, entertainment, history, and so on. It’s an acknowledgment of Black excellence.