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How Pressing Pause Keeps LaChina Robinson's Broadcasting Game Strong

Analyst LaChina Robinson is disrupting the broadcasting industry one basketball game at a time.

Finding Balance

In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.

LaChina Robinson is one of the most admirable women in the sports media disrupting the broadcasting industry one game at a time. Of course, before she was the LaChina Robinson that we all know and love from ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and NBATV, she was a 6'4" 14-year-old girl who was struggling to find her place in the world on top of day-to-day teen angst. Once she gave basketball a try, she felt like she belonged for the first time, which allowed her to tap into her strength, find her voice, embrace her unique features and eventually earn a college scholarship.

"Now I get to give back to the sport that gave so much to me while also giving women's sports the spotlight it deserves and helping to increase media imagery of powerful women," the Rising Media Stars co-founder told xoNecole. Though Robinson is working tirelessly to demolish the stigmas against Black women in sports broadcasting such as lack of audience interest, not being attractive to the average viewer, and their opinions not mattering to sports fans, she knows that she's not alone in the fight for equality for women's sports reporters' rights.

"There is a look and sound brought to you by mainstream America and Black women are led to believe that we don't check the boxes. What I love about the trend we are seeing with black women in sports like Jemele Hill, Cari Champion, Maria Taylor, we are creating our own boxes, so check that!"

Just like any job, being a sports analyst comes with its ups and downs, but LaChina Robinson loves her career and the research, passion, and packaging behind the pretty picture she paints on-screen. "I love telling the story behind the athlete. I cover the WNBA which is a league of 80% Black women who are undercovered by the media, unappreciated, and overlooked," the Around The Rim podcast host shared. "I take pride in shining a light on who they are as athletes, moms, business owners, activists, philanthropists, and much more. We need to expose the world to how incredible the Black female athlete really is."

As for the future of sports journalism in relation to the inclusivity of Black women, LaChina had this to say: "I believe the future of Black women in sports media is more Black women as a play-by-play announcers, analysts, editors in the newsroom, directors, and producers on live sporting events, and much more. These spaces are lacking diversity and Black women need to be in positions of power with freedom to create, hire, make decisions, and drive the narrative."

xoNecole had the chance to speak with multifaceted sports media maven about the importance of her relationship with God, how rapping Jay-Z helps her warm up before reporting a game, and how she finally started to make dating a priority in this installment of xoNecole's "Finding Balance".

xoNecole: At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause?

LaChina Robinson: I was in my late 20's before my career in broadcasting started and I got physically ill. I could not dig myself out of this hole of physical, spiritual, and emotional suffering. When I reflect back, I had been working for two years straight without a vacation and I had nothing left. I emerged from that situation closer to God, my purpose, and definitely learned the importance of pressing pause.

What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.

Being a basketball analyst requires a lot of homework, film, interview, studying stats, and reading articles. People think that you just show up on television and talk about what you see; not even close. I am buried in research and the game itself is literally 10% of all the work you do.

What are your mornings like?

I get up, say my prayers, listen to a meditation podcast (I love the Shine App), and try not to pick up my phone, which is a daily battle. I have a cup of decaf coffee, check my schedule for the day, and I'm off and running. In a pre-pandemic year, I am on a plane at least 160 days a year so when I am home, I spend a lot of time running errands, watching film, and packing for my next trip.

How do you wind down at night? 

I am a big fan of the Calm app which gets my mind drifting off into stories that take my focus off of the worries of life. I've started drinking tea more often before bed to relax. During the pandemic, I am definitely watching more Netflix and Hulu and would like to do more reading before bed but it's a work in progress.

When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?

The most hectic week for me is when I have to be in four different cities in a week. I could have two or three games, be hosting a special event, moderate a panel discussion, and before I know it, I am only home one or two days a week; that's hard. The traveling is the hardest part. I got so used to the get-up-and-go that I don't think I fully realized how hard it is to build consistency in your life when you are never in one city for very long.

Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you? 

Self-care for me is listening to a church sermon, working out, treating myself to a two-hour deep tissue massage once or twice a month, getting a mani-pedi, or going to the park and meditating, reading, stretching, and cooking when the motivation hits me.

What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?

You have to make time for self-care; no one can pour from an empty cup. My word over the last two years has been "replenish". I realized that I give so much of myself mentally, physically, spiritually to everyone's else's priorities, but who is going to take care of me? That is ultimately my responsibility and I deserve to take time for myself and take care of myself.

"You have to make time for self-care; no one can pour from an empty cup. My word over the last two years has been 'replenish'. I realized that I give so much of myself mentally, physically, spiritually to everyone's else's priorities, but who is going to take care of me? That is ultimately my responsibility and I deserve to take time for myself and take care of myself."

How do you find balance with:

Friends? 

I have the best friends in the world because they are super understanding that my travel and work schedules are crazy. I can be going at a fast pace and then have like a month where I am not as busy so my friends either see me often or not at all. I love pool days, park days, long FaceTimes, and trying new restaurants with friends when I can.

Love/Relationships? Dating? 

I finally started making dating a priority about two years ago. Something happened to me in my 30's where all of a sudden I was willing to move my life and career around to prioritize love which was a huge step for a girl who has always been career first.

Exercise? 

I love the app ClassPass because I can dip into one of the many great workout classes available in Atlanta or on the road. I like a combination of muscle toning and cardio so you will find me in spin, interval training, I get bored with workouts so bouncing around in different classes keeps me excited for that next workout challenge.

What about health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out? 

I am trying to like cooking but it just isn't my thing. Traveling as much as I do makes it hard on grocery shopping and cooking. I have tried a few meal prep services I like which helps to keep things healthy but I love some DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, definitely lifesavers for a girl on the go.

Do you ever detox?

I am a fan of fasting more than detoxing but it is something I would like to do more of. Fasting just helps me to reset my system, get my appetite under control, and keep a healthy mindset around the purpose of food which is really to nourish.

When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it? 

Prayer. My relationship with God is the foundation of my life. I don't know where I would be without His grace and mercy. God is my best friend and the first place I turn in times of uncertainty, anxiety, or need direction.

What do you do when you have a creative block when creating concepts for a project?

I like to rap Jay-Z lyrics before my games. Not only has his music been the soundtrack to my life but when you need to get a report out and want to speak clearly and with fluidity, rap lyrics are the perfect warm-up.

Honestly, what does success mean to you? What does happiness mean to you? 

My definition of success over time has changed but at this point in my career, I would say peace, purpose, and freedom. I want to be able to lay my head on the pillow every night and feel like I am in alignment with the plan God has for me, that I am proud of my personal and professional brand, and that I have freedom to be the ultimate decision-maker on where I want to put my time and energy.

For more of LaChina, follow her on Instagram!

Featured image courtesy of LaChina Robinson.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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