During Black Excellence Month, Sean “Diddy” Combs and CÎROC brought the next iteration of #CIROCStands during one of the biggest moments in sports, Super Bowl weekend. Together with the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), CÎROC celebrated Black journalists making headline-worthy strides and bringing their perspectives to the stories told in sports. As a partner of this year’s #CIROCStands for Black Excellence iteration, CÎROC supported NABJ’s mission to promote diversity, equity and inclusion through advocacy efforts and professional development for Black journalists and media professionals worldwide.
Together with sportscasters MJ Acosta-Ruiz, Cari Champion and NABJ member Kelsey Nicole Nelson, with Award-winning journalist, NYT Bestselling author, and NYT Bestselling author & TV host Elaine Welteroth, they hosted a panel discussion at NFL House to recognize these powerful women, while exploring their inspirational stories and spirits while toasting to their success as they pave the way for others.
Nelson described how this partnership is important so it can “inspire the next generation.” She said, “You have all these powerful women coming together, and all this Black girl magic and people realizing that NABJ, it’s an organization that has helped women leaders itself. It also helped lead this charge every single day, so it just seemed like the perfect pairing.”
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are words that are currently trending around the world, but Nelson made it known that “many of us have lived DEI our entire lives,” and said, “I think it’s making sure that advocacy efforts are uplifted, and the importance of professional development,” since NABJ represents a diverse group of individuals such as journalism professionals, communication professionals, student members, and so much more. She emphasized the importance of everyone coming together with a true commitment “to celebrate powerful voices, and really highlight and uplift voices in the Black community.”
She also mentioned how Black excellence is something that needs to be continually pushed and championed for our next generation. “You see what’s happening right now with the attack on education for our children and have been trying to erase Black history. This is living history and we’re honoring the trailblazers before and those coming after, and I think being together it’s profound.” Nelson also discussed the significance of this partnership stating, “My biggest thing is having a platform for a purpose, and I think that’s exactly what #CIROCStands did by having a great platform for a purpose and uplifting Black girl joy and Black boy joy.”
In addition, Nelson mentioned how more positive news is needed and how our younger generations are looking at us and watching everything we do. “We need more positive news in the community and other examples of woman leaders that they can strive to be, and women who look like them in the mirror, and an organization that they can join and who wants them to become a part.” She further illustrated, “We’re 4100 members strong right now with NABJ, and I think that’s so special that people have a place to go…it offered me a seat at the table and seats aren’t always offered.”
Nelson also reflected on her own journey from where she started with journalism to where she is today. “I’ve been doing journalism since I was little. I did the middle school newspaper and yearbook, the high school newspaper and yearbook, and went on to study that in college at the University of Maryland in Georgetown and have continued that for my professional career. I hope when people look at partnerships like this and groups look at partnerships like this, they see why they’re needed. I think there’s so much power when we come together.”
Nelson is excited for what the future may hold and is optimistic about future partnerships like this one. “I’m looking forward to the future…and it was a special event by not just the panelist, but I think everyone who attended. We shared a very special comradery during that panel weekend and just honored to be a part of it.”