To commemorate Black History Month, LakersNation.com recently partnered with Los Angeles Lakers forward Tarik Black and Ella Bee Media Group as they hosted a private movie screening for 500 students and athletes to watch ‘Race,’ a film about the American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist.
Before the movie event at Regal Cinemas in downtown Los Angeles, co-hosted by actor Glynn Turman, our intern reporter Ivana Rojas caught up with Black to discuss numerous topics, including the impact Owens has had on him personally and the historical significance.
“It means a lot to our culture, our people, our ethnicity and just minorities in general,” Black told LakersNation.com. “I’m a big adage that you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you come from, and this is the unsung hero in Jesse Owens that we don’t really know about too much in American history or in African-American history. He deserves all the credit in the world because of the barriers he broke down and the accolades he achieved.”
Facing off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy, Owens won four gold medals (100 meters, 200 meters, long jump and 4 X 100-meter relay) at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany. While it would take decades before the four-time Olympic gold medalist was recognized for his accomplishments, the Jesse Owens Award is USA Track and Field’s highest accolade for the year’s best track and field athlete.
“You’re talking about this ordinary man from America, that people probably didn’t believe would do too much, setting the tone for a whole nation,” Black said. “And that’s very powerful, and that goes beyond the sports we play. It goes to the influence you have as a person.”
With Owens’ legacy continuing to inspire athletes around the world, hosting a private movie screening event like this for students is only the beginning for Black. While most people will naturally label Black as a professional basketball player for the Lakers, he eventually wants to venture into his true passion of creating his foundation.
For his efforts to the community, Black was presented the Richard Allen stamp by the U.S. Postmaster. Allen was one of America’s most active and influential leaders, and this stamp is only given for civic service during Black History Month.
While Black is establishing himself as an NBA player, he is using his platform to give back to the community. In a time when our youth face different challenges and obstacles, professional athletes like Black have the unique opportunity to influence them to stay the course and reach their full potential in any profession.
From the entire staff at LakersNation.com, we thank Black and Ella Bee Media Group for their greatest assist to the youth and community.
Quotes transcribed by our writing intern, Maximo Gonzales.